Terminology Used

We know that many of commonly used words have shortcomings and we hope that no one feels excluded, misrepresented or offended by our usage of particular terms. We do apologise if this is the case.

• Victim survivor – Some people identify with different terms when it comes to describing or reflecting their experiences of family violence. We acknowledge every person’s experience is unique and individual to their own circumstances. In these resources, we use the term victim survivor when referring to people affected by family violence. At times the term ‘survivor’ might be used for brevity.

• Family/Parent – We acknowledge that every family looks different. Children may be cared for by a range of people who are not their biological parents. For consistency, when talking about family law and the child protection system, we use the terms ‘parent/s’ and ‘family’ as well as ‘mother’ and ‘father’ in relation to specific case studies. This information may also apply to non-biological parents.

• Perpetrator – In these resources, the term perpetrator is used to describe the person who has caused or is causing family violence harm. We acknowledge that ‘people who use violence’ is a preferred term by the sector as well as some Aboriginal people and communities, in recognition that the word ‘perpetrator’ may create barriers to engagement. We use ‘perpetrator’ both for brevity and as it is understood these materials are intended for a practitioner audience.

• Respondent – This term refers to the person who has been named in a Family Violence Intervention Order as the cause of family violence harm. In our materials, sometimes this term is used interchangeably with ‘perpetrator’. We acknowledge that there are occasions in which a victim survivor might be misidentified as a perpetrator of harm or become subject to a ‘cross-application’ resulting in them being listed as both an applicant and respondent in the Court system. We note we are not referring to these situations in our use of either of these terms through the resource unless specified otherwise.

• IVO / Family Violence Intervention Order or ‘FVIVO’ – This is a Court made order for protection against those who use family violence against a family member. For the purposes of our resources, we are talking about Family Violence Intervention Orders whenever using the term IVO.

• Personal Safety Intervention Order or ‘PSIO’ – This is a Court made order to provide protection against non-family members, (like neighbours, strangers, friends and landlords) who are violent, threatening or harassing. We do not refer to PSIOs in the materials. Encountering the Personal Safety kind of intervention order will probably be rarer given the specialised work you do, but if you or your client are at all unsure which of these orders might apply to their particular situation, you should direct them to seek legal advice on this – as there are key differences in the process and relevant legal tests.

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