Topic: Domestic violence case processing - the efficacy of no-drop prosecution rules, a comparative legal analysis

Presenter: Patrícia Pais - MPhil Candidate, TC Beirne School of Law

Domestic violence is considered to be one of the most widespread human rights abuses in the world today, affecting as many as one out of every three women. Over the past twenty years, many jurisdictions have introduced or changed legislation covering the components of domestic violence, including prosecution policies and laws. This is in part the result of the work of institutions such as the United Nations and the Council of Europe that have urged States to enact the necessary adjustments in criminal law and judicial procedures, namely the implementation of some version of 'no-drop' policies or legislation that requires law enforcement authorities to pursue investigations and prosecute domestic violence cases regardless the victim's will.

Since domestic violence is perpetrated behind closed doors, the victim's testimony is often the strongest and sole evidence of the abuse. Nonetheless, victims frequently opt not to cooperate, in legal proceedings as they view prosecution as unnecessary or contradictory to their interests. Little work has assessed the operation and ultimate effectiveness of no drop policies for reducing or preventing intimate partner violence. This study seeks to examine the development, implementation and outcomes of no-drop policies from an international comparative perspective. These issues will be compared across two jurisdictions that have among the longest periods of implementation of no drop policies, but also possess significantly different legal and criminal justice systems—namely, Canada (common law) and Portugal (civil law). 

All welcome, please register by emailing Beth Williams.

Contact: Beth Williams, ph: (334) 69350, email:

About Research Seminar Series

The UQ Law Research Seminar Series provides an opportunity to explore and critically discuss legal and interdisciplinary issues in an academic environment. The seminars are an integral part of the School’s research culture.

For further enquiries about this Seminar Series or if you are interested in presenting a seminar, please contact the Research Office (

You may also be interested in related seminar series:

To receive notice of upcoming seminars and other law school news, please subscribe to the School’s E-Newsletter.


Sir Samuel Griffith Room, 1-W341, Forgan Smith Building