Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson

Research Fellow
Australian Institute of Family Studies
BA/LLB (Hons) (Melb), PhD (Melb), Admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of Victoria and the High Court of Australia

Dr Rachel Carson is a socio-legal researcher with particular expertise in family law and qualitative research about family law disputes. After practising as a family lawyer, Rachel worked as a researcher on the Children’s Contact Services: Expectation and Experience Project (The University of Melbourne, Griffith University and the Australian Institute of Family Studies). Rachel's socio-legal PhD study investigated high-risk contact between children and their non-residence parents post-separation, with a particular focus on supervised contact. Just prior to joining the Institute, Rachel was a researcher on the longitudinal Post-separation Parenting and Financial Settlements Study at Melbourne Law School, The University of Melbourne. Since joining the Family Law and Family Violence team at the Institute in June 2012, Rachel has worked on the Independent Children's Lawyers Study which involved a mixed-methods investigation of the role and efficacy of Independent Children's Lawyers and she is second author on the Independent Children's Lawyer Study - Final Report. Rachel has also contributed to the work of the Australian Gambling Research Centre and the Child Family Community Australia (CFCA) information exchange.

Together with Dr Rae Kaspiew and the Family Law and Family Violence Team, Rachel has recently undertaken the Evaluation of the 2012 Family Violence Amendments project. This mixed-method project examined the impact of the legislative amendments to the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) introduced by the Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Act 2011(Cth). Rachel has also recently worked on the Institute's elder abuse scoping study and is currently working on research for the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse investigating pathways to support services for victims/survivors of child sexual abuse and their families. Rachel's current research is investigating the experiences of children and young people after the separation of their parents and the extent to which their needs are met by the existing family law system services. Rachel also works with the AIFS Ethics Committee in a support and advisory capacity, providing governance support and advice and ensuring that the Institute is compliant with the relevant protocols.

Rachel is a consulting editor for the Family Law Review journal and in 2016 Rachel will represent the Institute as the AIFS observer on the Family Law Council, a body that provides policy advice on family law to the Commonwealth Attorney-General.

Rachel's areas of research interest involve all aspects of family law, family violence, child safety and the rights of children and young rights and their participation in decision-making processes that affect them.

Selected publications

R. Carson, R. Kaspiew, J. Dunstan, L. Qu, B. Horsfall, J. De Maio et al. (2016). Identifying and responding to family violence and child safety concerns: Findings from the AIFS Evaluation of the 2012 family violence amendments. Family Matters 98, 7-15. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Kaspiew, R., Carson, R., & Rhoades, H. (2016). Elder abuse: Understanding issues, frameworks and responses (Research Report No. 35). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Carson R and Dunstan J. (2015) Family Law Update. In Family Matters 96 Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies, 72-79.

Kaspiew, R., Carson, R., Coulson, M., Dunstan, J., &  Moore, S. (2015). Responding to family violence: A survey of family law practices and experiences (Evaluation of the 2012 Family Violence Amendments) (PDF 3.7 MB). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Kaspiew, R., Carson, R., Dunstan, J., De Maio, J., Moore, S., Moloney, L. et al. (2015). Experiences of Separated Parents Study (Evaluation of the 2012 Family Violence Amendments) (PDF  4.2 MB). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Kaspiew, R., Carson, R., Dunstan, J., Qu, L., Horsfall, B., De Maio, J. et al. (2015). Evaluation of the 2012 family violence amendments: Synthesis report. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Kaspiew, R., Carson, R., Qu, L., Horsfall, B., Tayton, S.,  Moore, S. et al. (2015). Court Outcomes Project (Evaluation of the 2012 Family Violence Amendments) (PDF  1.4 MB). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Carson, R. (2014). Property and financial matters upon the breakdown of de facto relationships. (CFCA Paper No. 24.) Melbourne, Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Carson, R., Kaspiew, R., Moore, S., Deblaquiere, J., De Maio, J., & Horsfall, B. (2014). The role and efficacy of Independent Children's Lawyers: Findings from the AIFS Independent Children's Lawyer Study. Family Matters 94, 58-69. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Kaspiew, R., Carson, R., Moore, S., De Maio J., Deblaquiere, J., & Horsfall, B. (2014). Getting the word out: The role of Independent Children's Lawyers in the family law system. Australian Journal of Family Law 28(1) 29.

Kaspiew, R., Carson, R., Moore, S., De Maio, J., Deblaquiere, J., & Horsfall, B. (2014). Independent Children's Lawyers Study: final report. Research report. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Kaspiew, R., Carson, R., Moore, S., De Maio J., Deblaquiere, J., & Horsfall, B. (2014). The Role of Independent Children's Lawyers in the Family Law System. Child Family and Community Australia Connect. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Carson, R., Fehlberg, B., & Millward, C. (2013). Parents' experiences of Family Dispute Resolution and family law services in Australia following shared parenting reform: recent qualitative findings. Child and Family Law Quarterly 25 (4) 406-424.

Carson, R. (2013). Ethical considerations for evaluation research. Child and Family Community Australia Connect. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Fehlberg, B., Millward, C., Campo, M., & Carson, R. (2013). Post-Separation Parenting and Financial Arrangements: Exploring Changes Over Time. International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family 27 (3) 359-380.