8 December 2010

A report released today by a UQ law expert has found criminal justice interventions in domestic violence situations in Queensland are in urgent need of improvement.

The report, Stories From Survivors: Domestic Violence and Criminal Justice Interventions, was co-authored by UQ’s TC Beirne School of Law Associate Professor Heather Douglas and will be launched on the Gold Coast today (Wednesday 8 December) as part of a 16-day international campaign to end domestic violence.

Dr Douglas said the report explored women’s experiences of engaging with the criminal justice process in prosecuting crimes related to domestic violence.

“We undertook interviews with 20 Queensland women who have experienced domestic violence and who have assisted (or attempted to assist) in the prosecution of domestic violence offences,” she said.

“Women were asked to reflect on their experiences and to offer insights into how the criminal justice process may be improved.”

Dr Douglas said the women discussed issues associated with identifying domestic violence, policing domestic violence, taking matters to court and their engagements with women’s support services.

“Women claimed that police often took too long to attend domestic violence call-outs, if they attended at all. Many women reported they had waited up to three hours for police to attend,” she said.

“Many women also reported they received very limited information from police and courts about their options.

“They also claimed domestic violence matters weren’t taken seriously by the courts, with fines the usual outcome, even in matters of serious domestic violence offending.”

Dr Douglas said the aim of the research was to assist in the development of criminal justice interventions in the domestic violence context that can better engage and support victims and identify practices that should be avoided.

A number of the women interviewed will attend the report launch today at the Domestic Violence Prevention Centre Gold Coast Inc.

To download a copy of the Report, please visit www.law.uq.edu.au/stories-from-survivors

Further information about the 16 days of activism to end domestic violence (25 November – 10 December 2010) is available at www.domesticviolence.com.au/UpcomingEvents.htm

Media: Lynda Flower, School of Law Marketing, 07 3365 2523, l.flower@law.uq.edu.au