RLC Position Paper: Specialist Domestic Violence Courts (Or Court Lists days) in New South Wales

RLC recommends the introduction of domestic violence specialist courts (or specialist court list days), to ensure better outcomes for victims through specialist training and collaborative practices between the court.

The NSW Domestic Violence Death Review Team Report 2015–2017 highlights a number of issues relating to the justice response to domestic violence, including the issue of dealing with intractable offenders,  the need for judicial officers to consider factors relevant to the duration of an ADVO, and the suggestion that court responses to domestic violence could be improved by harnessing the expertise of judicial leaders.   

A number of cases cited in the Report demonstrate the difficulties victims of domestic violence face, particularly Aboriginal women victims, when accessing justice.  These same difficulties are reflected in the casework of RLC’s Sydney Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service, particularly in cases set down for a defended hearing.

RLC  supports the recent recommendation by the NSW Domestic Violence Death Review Team  ‘that the Attorney General, in consultation with relevant stakeholders, consider how the approaches reflected in the Domestic Violence Justice Strategy, such as the application of specialist court practice in all local courts, can be further advanced’.

RLC recommends that the NSW Attorney General consider the introduction of domestic violence specialist courts (or specialist court list days), similar to Queensland’s Southport Domestic and Family Violence Specialist Court model, as a feasible and cost effective way to ensure better outcomes for victims through specialist training and collaborative practices between the court.  

Download RLC's Position Paper