Professor Heather Douglas
Professor Heather Douglas
16 June 2017

Magistrates, judges, victims and support officers nationwide can now refer to a one-stop reference guide about domestic and family violence.

Led by The University of Queensland’s Professor Heather Douglas, Stage Two of the National Domestic and Family Violence Bench Book was launched today, updating an initial body of work released in August 2016.

The release culminates two years of painstaking and intricate research, grounded by many victim-interviews conducted by Professor Douglas, and will act as reference guide for all parties involved with the domestic violence epidemic sweeping Australia.

“The new material in Stage Two includes a searchable database providing links to summaries of cases from across Australia that address domestic and family violence,” Professor Douglas said.

“There are also new sections on family law, protection orders, evidence and bail.

“While it is primarily written for judicial officers, it is open access and many legal practitioners, academics and those supporting people who have experienced domestic and family violence may find it a helpful resource.

“It includes easily accessible summaries of cases and recent research, checklists and helpful diagrams.”

Chief Magistrate Orazio Rinaudo AM said the Bench Book would become an invaluable tool for judges, lawyers and prosecutors.

“There are three majors players that will benefit hugely from this Bench Book – the court, the prosecutors and the defence,” Magistrate Rinaudo said.

“I congratulate Professor Heather Douglas on the fantastic job she has done in pulling all this research together – what she has done is fabulous, it is a brilliant piece of work.

“The most important thing is the consistency and continuity of decisions made by the court and the implementation of this Bench Book and the accessibility of it in one location is invaluable.”

Professor Douglas said the upgraded Bench Book highlighted the different legislation around domestic violence in different states and territories across Australia.

“Complementing efforts under The National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children, this resource promotes best practice in judicial decision making in cases involving domestic and family violence across Australia,” she said.

Funded by the Federal Attorney General’s Department and supported by the Australasian Judicial Administration Institute, the Bench Book is accessible online, free of charge to all judicial officers and others considering legal issues relevant to domestic and family violence related cases across Australia.

Access the National Domestic and Family Violence Bench Book.

Media: Grant Stockwell,, +61 7 3346 0700, +62 (0) 455 464 802.