Skip to main content
'The Criminal Law's Response to Domestic Violence: What's Going On?'
Sydney Law Review (2008)
  • Heather A Douglas, University of Queensland
Scholars and activists have long campaigned for domestic violence to be recognised as criminal offending, however, at the same time, they have also consistently warned that a risk of criminalisation is that it inflicts further harm to women. This article draws on a study of criminal prosecutions of breaches of domestic violence protection orders in Queensland, Australia and explores the process of criminal intervention in the context of domestic violence. The Queensland data discussed in this article demonstrates that the process involved in prosecuting a criminal breach often involves a minimisation of the harm inflicted on women by perpetrators, police and magistrates, a ruthless contest about the facts and numerous court appearances before resolution. Prosecutions of breaches of protection orders often result in no conviction being recorded or in trivialising fines. In conclusion, this article explores whether there are shifts and changes that can be made in this area of criminal law so that it better embraces the three principles of justice that have been identified by Barbara Hudson; discursiveness, relationalism and reflectiveness.
  • domestic violence,
  • criminla prosecution,
  • protection orders
Publication Date
Citation Information
Heather A Douglas. "'The Criminal Law's Response to Domestic Violence: What's Going On?'" Sydney Law Review Vol. 30 Iss. 3 (2008)
Available at: