Journal article

Do we need a specific domestic violence offence?

Crime Family violence Law Australia


This article considers whether a specific domestic violence offence is needed in Australian criminal law that can recognise the ongoing, controlling and coercive nature of domestic violence. The recent introduction into English and Welsh law of a ‘controlling or coercive’ behaviour offence that is designed to apply to offences committed in the context of domestic violence provides a good opportunity to extend the discussion in Australia. After briefly overviewing the difficulties and concerns associated with prosecuting domestic violence as a criminal offence, this article reflects on recent law reform processes and outcomes in England and Wales. The article then considers the approach to the criminalisation of domestic violence in the United States of America before turning to examine criminal law offences in Australia. The article concludes by proposing the introduction of a new offence.

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