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Grant to address systemic injustices against women in domestic violence cases

27 August 2018
Rita Shackel wins prestigious international grant
Sydney Law School’s Associate Professor Rita Shackel has been awarded an international project grant from the American Association of University Women (AAUW).
Associate Professor Rita Shackel

AAUW has awarded a total of $3.9 million through six fellowships and grants programs to 250 scholars, research projects, and programs promoting education and equity for women and girls.

Associate Professor Rita Shackel, an AAUW International Fellow and Co-Director of the Sydney Institute of Criminology, was awarded one of a limited number of international grants to examine women defendants’ experiences of criminal justice processes in domestic and family violence cases.

“The project will target a vulnerable group of women that has received little attention in research and service delivery,” said Associate Professor Rita Shackel.  

“Evidence indicates that women defendants charged with domestic violence offences are not adequately supported in delivery of legal services, advocacy and more generally. There is also evidence that these women are treated unduly harshly in criminal processes by police and courts.”

The project will involve a review of existing research and relevant data in Australia and internationally, interviews with women defendants across NSW and interviews with women’s service providers. The data generated will add to the evidence base for better understanding women's experiences (from women's perspectives) of criminal processes as criminal defendants in domestic violence cases.

"These insights are important to enable women’s voices and their priorities for justice to be heard, to challenge current practices, and to inform future research, policy, program development and service delivery,” she said.

The project will provide the basis for the development of online and other resources to support women defendants charged with domestic violence offences. It will also lead to publication of a report directed to relevant service providers and to academic presentations and papers.