Racialised Realities and other Challenges to Gendered Justice Aspirations

Stream: Looking Ahead to Beijing+30: what is challenging our understanding of gendered violence and what should be the research imperatives in the coming decade?
Date: Thursday, 12 February 2015
Time: 4.00 pm – 5.30 pm


Enactment of specific domestic violence legislation in Australia in the 1980s was part of a larger feminist agenda seeking gender equality in political, economic and social life, and motivated by feminist concerns to make domestic violence a state responsibility, rather than a private matter. Donna Coker (2002) warned of the risks in making domestic violence a public problem without adequate attention to the “relationship between battered women and the state”, particularly poor, black women. This presentation will highlight the unintended consequences of domestic violence legal policy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in northern Australia. Their experiences challenge us to make the intersections of race and gender central to the development of legal policy on gendered violence, consider alternative sites of public responsibility for domestic violence, and develop intersectional race/gender theory on types of violence and its regulation. The presentation will conclude with considering the potential implications of this analysis of north Australian data for gendered violence policy in other Asia-Pacific communities, and for future research.


Heather Nancarrow (Presenter), Chief Executive Officer, ANROWS
Heather Nancarrow is the Chief Executive Officer of Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS). Heather has worked for more than 30 years towards ending violence against women, including her work in counselling and support services, government policy, research and professional development. She has held many leadership roles at the state and national level including Director of the Queensland Government’s Domestic Violence Policy Unit; Chair of Queensland’s ministerial advisory body on domestic and family violence; and Deputy Chair of the National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children, which produced Time for Action, the blueprint for Australia’s National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022. Prior to her appointment to ANROWS, Heather was the foundation Director of the Queensland Centre for Domestic and Family Violence Research and held that position for eleven years. In that role, she established Queensland’s annual Indigenous Family Violence Prevention Forum, which commenced in 2004. She has a Master of Arts (1st Class Honours) in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Heather’s primary research interests are justice responses to intimate partner and family violence, particularly as they relate to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.