Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson

Senior Research Fellow, Manager – Family Law and Family Violence (Acting)
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 expertise in family law and qualitative research about family law disputes. After practising as a family lawyer, Rachel worked as a researcher in family law at the Melbourne Law School (University of Melbourne) and was awarded a Melbourne Research Scholarship to undertake her PhD in this field of research at the University of Melbourne.

Since joining the Family Law and Family Violence team at the Australian Institute of Family Studies in June 2012, Rachel has worked on a range of projects, including the Independent Children’s Lawyer Study and the Evaluation of the 2012 Family Violence Amendments Project. Rachel was the lead researcher on the recently completed Children and Young People in Separated Families: Family Law System Experiences and Needs project, together with the Institute’s Direct Cross-examination in Family Law Matters Study.

Rachel has contributed to the Institute’s elder abuse scoping studies and is currently working on the Elder Abuse National Research - Strengthening the Evidence Base - Stage 1 research program commissioned by the Australian Government, Attorney-General’s Department. She has also contributed to research undertaken for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and to the work of the Institute’s Australian Gambling Research Centre. 

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

Selected publications

Carson, R., Qu, L., De Maio, J., & Roopani, D. (2018). Direct cross‑examination in family law matters. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Carson, R., Dunstan, E., Dunstan, J., & Roopani, D. (2018). Children and young people in separated families: Family law system experiences and needs. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Qu, L., Lahausse, J. & Carson, R. (2018). Working Together to Care for Kids: A survey of foster and relative/kinship carers. (Research Report). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

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.