Q&A With Conference Ambassador Liana Papoutsis

October 28, 2019

Liana Papoutsis is a highly experienced human rights, international relations and law academic, family violence and social change advocate.

Recognised with the Deakin University, Lynne Alice Prize for Excellence in Human Rights and International Law, Liana is an esteemed bi-lingual academic engaged as a specialist consultant for the Victorian Government’s design and delivery of family violence reforms at the Department of Premier & Cabinet and Family Safety Victoria.

Liana draws on her own lived experience of surviving and starting life again after family violence to inform foundational key family violence reforms such as Support and Safety Hubs and is committed and determined to making a difference, improving safety and support for women who are leaving violent or abusive relationships.

Find out more about Liana in our exclusive ambassador Q&A.

Q: Why did you decide to become a STOP DV Conference ambassador?

A: To provide a lived experience voice and to influence policy makers working towards  prevention against violence to women and children.

Q: Do you have lived experience with DV?

A: Yes I do.  I have an horrific lived experience with family violence.

Q: How did you manage to leave the relationship?

A: This is a complicated question which required a huge number of complex steps, making leaving the relationship a reality.  However, in the end, the fear of leaving outweighed the fear of staying.

Q: Did you feel that the services available are able to provide enough support for those in need?

A: Not by a long shot.  Women are left to navigate a very silo’d and complicated system at a time of crisis and the journey is a very lonely one.  Having said that, small improvements have occurred, but we still have a long way to go.

Q: What else do you think could be done to ensure those impacted by domestic or family violence are better supported?

A:

1. To be believed at the outset.

2. Not to have to repeat their story

3. To be assured of professionals in the justice system and the domestic violence sector overall who possess the expertise to deal with the complexities and dynamics of family violence.

4. For the family law system to stop re-traumatising women who have escaped family violence and are doing their all to protect their children

Q: How did the experience impact you?

A: In every way – financially, emotionally and health wise. Being a human rights and international law lecturer, I have been fortunate enough to leverage that skillset which has galvanised me into the advocacy and consultancy space with all things family violence.

Q: What things can everyone do to help prevent domestic and family violence?

A: A culture of disrespect towards women as a precursor to violence, therefore, respect and gender equality are key to the prevention of family violence.  Family violence is everyone’s business – call it out.

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