Bench Book to help judges with DV case consistency

AN online guide will set the benchmark for every Australian judge presiding over domestic violence cases.

The Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration and the University of Queensland are developing the Family Violence Bench Book that will be the must-have resource for federal, state and territory judges.

The guide will take more than two years to complete and is expected to cover comprehensively civil and criminal laws relating to family violence across every jurisdiction.

It will also promote best practice and consistency in judicial decision making regarding domestic violence.

The Bench Book was a recommendation of the 2010 Family Violence - A National Legal Response report complied by the Australian Law Reform Commission and the New South Wales Law Reform Commission.

Attorney-General George Brandis said judges, legal practitioners and academics would inform the content.

"The current prevalence of family violence in Australia is utterly unacceptable," Senator Brandis said.

"It is fundamental that women and their families are safe from violence in their homes and communities and we remain absolutely committed to ensuring we reduce and ultimately end domestic violence."

The guide is expected to go online in June 2017.

Domestic violence groups and frontline workers say at least 44 Australian women have been killed by partners or other family members this year.

APN Regional Media, publisher of this newspaper and 11 other regional daily newspapers, has been lobbying the NSW and Queensland governments to put in place compulsory respectful relationship classes in state schools plus domestic violence-focused magistrates.

If you or someone you know needs help, phone DV Connect on 1800 811 811, DV Line on 1800 656 463 or 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732.

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