Date: 
Friday 18 September 2015

Enhancing systems to support coronial investigations into domestic / family violence deaths

Domestic and family violence homicides are devastating for families and communities. Almost every week in Australia one woman is killed by her current or former partner, often after a history of domestic violence. These intimate partner homicides account for one fifth of all homicides.

In 2015 the Commission commenced a project with coroners from all Australian jurisdictions to improve systems and supports for coronial investigations and reviews into deaths from family violence. This project will work towards

  • an agreed and standardised definition of domestic violence deaths and
  • a process for reporting at the national level.

Currently, Australia does not have a standardised definition or system for collecting and collating information about domestic and family violence deaths. Across the states and territories there are differences in the resources that are available to coroners to inquire into domestic and family violence deaths. Standardised reporting will assist in creating a more coherent picture of the causal and contributing factors to domestic violence deaths across the nation. A national database will allow for comparison across the jurisdictions and consideration of factors that cross borders.

The National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022 recommends that jurisdictions ‘share information and good practice from domestic homicide and child death reviews, and other review mechanisms’[1] to ‘enhance review processes and drive improvements to Commonwealth, state and territory systems [so that they can] work together to identify and respond to women experiencing violence and, ultimately, prevent domestic violence homicides’.[2]


[1]Australian Government, National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022, p 10. nd family violence-related deaths. pp38-39. At https://www.dss.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/09_2014/dss012_14_book_tagged_reduced.pdf (viewed 3 June 2015).

[2] Commonwealth Government, Department of Social Services’ Second Action Plan 2013-2016, Moving Ahead of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022, Action 19 - Reviewing domestic and family violence-related deaths. pp38-39. At https://www.dss.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/09_2014/dss012_14_book_tagged_reduced.pdf (viewed 3 June 2015).