National Domestic and Family Violence Bench Book

On 18 August 2016 the Attorney-General released a new online resource for judicial officers dealing with domestic and family violence cases. The first stage of the National Domestic and Family Violence Bench Book is available on the Australian Institute of Judicial Administration’s website at:

The purpose of the book is to “assist the education and training of judicial officers to promote best practice and improve consistency in judicial decision-making and court experiences for victims in cases involving domestic and family violence across Australia.” The book is a “publicly available resource that is intended to benefit other legal professionals and service providers who are working with victims and perpetrators of domestic and family violence.”

The book;

  • Clarifies myths and misunderstandings;
  • Identifies factors that signify a risk for escalation of domestic violence including where there has been;
    • Past domestic violence;
    • A non-fatal strangulation (choking);
    • Where weapons are in the home and threats to kill have been made;
    • The domestic violence has continued post-separation;
    • Where there is a pregnancy;
    • Issues of alcohol or drugs misuse by the perpetrator
    • Stalking;
    • Controlling or jealous behaviours by the perpetrator;
    • Suicide threat by perpetrator;
    • A step-child in the family;
    • Where there are parenting proceedings on foot.
  • Recognises particularly vulnerable groups – e.g. women, children, mentally ill, illiterate etc.
  • The best practice guidelines for family law proceedings are due for release in July 2017.