“Imagining a Life Beyond Oppression”: Gender, Race and Class and Women’s Migration Journeys from Behind the Bars

Jill Faulkner

Women Transforming Justice Project

Jill has worked for thirty plus years in contexts where people’s lives have been shaped by colonialization, white supremacy, and the production of oppression through race, class and gender. Her work has been on unceded Aboriginal lands across the Pilbara, Alice Springs and NT communities and Melbourne. A practitioner, community worker, supervisor, trainer and researcher Jill is committed to disrupting the dominance of power in the lives or individuals, families and communities to support wellbeing. Most recently Jill has worked in the development of family violence frameworks for queer communities and for all women and trans and gender diverse peoples who have used interpersonal violence in both the women’s prison.

Conservatively over 80% of women in prison began their trajectory in the criminal justice system with early experiences of childhood sexual abuse with further re-victimisation through family and domestic violence which has direct links to relationships with drugs and alcohol and their offending behaviour.

Women’s transition from prison is particularly gendered in terms of the overwhelming and multiple experiences of gendered violence. Structural relations of racism and sexism establish a set of conditions that continue to shape the lives of women leading to experiences of feeling imprisoned both during incarceration and outside of the prison walls. How can a trauma informed approach be taken up at both structural and individual levels that supports women’s re-membership in families, communities and society?