Domestic violence research profiled

24 Apr 2018

The Weekend Australian Magazine has featured the work of TC Beirne School of Law domestic violence researcher Professor Heather Douglas

The article, The Ultimate Form of Control, profiles the impact of Professor Douglas's research on law reform in domestic violence in Australia, particulary around strangulation laws. 

It notes that in a 2014 paper, Strangulation, Domestic Violence and the Legal Response, Professor Douglas found that non-lethal strangulation was a red flag for future abuse and fatality.

"Because strangulation injuries leave no visible mark or visible injuries may only become evident days later, police, doctors and victims often underplay the seriousness of the offence or do not connect the initial strangulation event with the injuries," Professor Douglas said.

Professor Douglas called for the correct identification and naming of non-fatal strangulation on police and medical records. 

“It ensures possible injuries are identified and responded to and mitigates risk of further serious injury or death. In the US, most states now have strangulation offences – maybe this is what we need in Australia," she said.

Professor Douglas is an ARC Future Fellow in UQ’s TC Beirne School of Law and project co-ordinator the National Domestic and Family Violence Bench Book, which aims to promote legal best practice around issues of family violence.

Her research delves into areas within criminal justice and domestic violence, and has published widely on criminal justice issues and legal responses to domestic violence and child protection.

She was the lead researcher and project co-ordinator with the Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration, and was the lead chief investigator (2012-2015) on the Australian Feminist Judgments Project, funded by the Australian Research Council.

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