National Domestic and Family Violence Bench Book

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UPDATED for 2023

The purpose of this bench book is to provide a central resource for judicial officers considering legal issues relevant to domestic and family violence related cases that will contribute to harmonising the treatment of these cases across jurisdictions along broad principles and may assist them with decision-making and judgment writing. This bench book does not seek to represent the opinions or preferences of judicial officers, or to direct judicial officers as to the manner in which they should respond to domestic and family violence related cases. Rather, it provides background information and knowledge supported by research, links to a range of legal and related resources, and practical guidelines for courtroom management that judicial officers may consult when considering the breadth of issues and appropriate course of action in any individual case. In deciding whether, or how, a particular issue may be dealt with, the judicial officer must necessarily balance the interests of all participants in a case.

The 2023 update includes 127 new resources including:

  • Summaries of 39 new Australian and 27 new international academic articles.
  • Links to 30 new Australian and 2 new international other resources including fact sheets and webpages.
  • 58 new summaries of cases from Commonwealth and all states and territories.

The 2023 update includes two new sections. Given the increased role of domestic violence death reviews in understanding risk on death reviews we have included a new section on death reviews. We have also included a new section on parental alienation. The update includes many updates to context statements and updated links across many sections.

The Senior Researcher on the bench book team since 2020, Hannah Ehler, is moving on to a new role in the Queensland Government and we wish her well and thank her for all her work on this project.