Policing Domestic and Family Violence


How police respond to domestic and family violence (DFV) has important ramifications for the safety of women and their children. Despite recognition of the key role police play in responding to DFV and the importance of the perspectives of survivors in informing appropriate responses, there has been no recent exploration of survivors’ experiences of the police response to DFV in Queensland. This article draws on interviews with women in Brisbane, Australia, who have experienced DFV and engaged in some way with the legal system. It explores women’s reasons for calling, or not calling, the police and their experiences with police between 2014 and 2017. The article highlights the role of police culture in appropriately responding to DFV. It suggests that cultural change is needed and may be facilitated by ongoing training, addressing gender balance within the police service and introducing women-only police stations.

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Except where otherwise noted, content in this journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Published: 2019-04-30
Pages:31 to 49
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How to Cite
Douglas, H. (2019) “Policing Domestic and Family Violence”, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 8(2), pp. 31-49. doi: 10.5204/ijcjsd.v8i2.1122.

Author Biography

The University of Queensland

Professor Heather Douglas is based at the TC Beirne School of Law at the University of Queensland, Australia. She researches in the areas of criminal justice and domestic violence. Heather has published widely on criminal justice issues and around legal responses to domestic violence and child protection. In 2014-2019 she was awarded an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship to research the way in which women who have experienced domestic violence use the legal system to help them leave violence. She was the lead researcher and project co-ordinator with the Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration on the development of the National Domestic and Family Violence Bench Book, a project funded by the Commonwealth Government.  Heather was appointed a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law in 2013 and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia in 2017.