9th March 2015

The success of women-only police stations has prompted QUT head of the School of Justice Professor Kerry Carrington to call for a trial of them in Australia as part of the response to eliminate violence against women.

Professor Carrington has travelled in South America studying different innovative ways of responding to violence against women.

"The first women-only police station opened in Brazil in 1985 - such was its success, there are now 485 in Brazil alone and they are in Argentina, Guatemala, Peru and Ecuador," she said.

"Other countries are instituting them too - India, and countries in Asia and Africa are establishing them."

Professor Carrington said evaluations by UN Women of women-only police stations found they had enhanced women's willingness to report violence against them, had resulted in more convictions and women reported greater satisfaction with the way their complaints were handled.

"A significant advantage of women-only police stations is that they are places where an integrated response to domestic violence and sexual assault can take place because they can have social workers and other support workers there," she said.

"They have they improved women's access to justice by providing specially trained staff where women are listened to and believed and given the appropriate support.

"They have also improved their access to other services such as family planning, health, welfare and work to help them get out of their abusive situation and improve the whole quality of their life."

Professor Carrington said almost half of the homicides in Australia were connected to domestic violence.

"I'd like to see them trialled in Australia given the substantial evidence that they work for women experiencing violence.

"We also know that police domestic violence liaison officers report they are not properly supported and they often suffer vicarious trauma so women-only police stations where everyone works together and knows what they are dealing with could help police officers too."

Professor Carrington's latest book Feminism and Global Justice contains more details on other new initiatives to to combat violence against women.

Professor Kerry Carrington is head of school of Justice, in QUT's Faculty of Law and was recently named as one of Qld's Top 50 Thinkers.

An interview with ABC 612 with Professor Carrington can be heard here.

Media contact: Niki Widdowson, QUT media, 07 3138 2999 or n.widdowson@qut.edu.au

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