People from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds


  • Judicial Commission of NSW, Equality before the Law: Bench Book (2018).
    Chapter 3 ‘People from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds’ provides comprehensive consideration of how CALD status may impact on a person’s court experiences. Of particular relevance at 3305 it states: ‘It may also be important to consider – given the subject matter, any cultural considerations and the need to get the best possible evidence with as little difficulty as possible – whether to specifically ask or a male or female interpreter (for example in matters where the person may feel culturally uncomfortable having someone of the opposite sex interpret for them – such as matters relating to sexual activity, sexual assault or domestic violence’ [].


  • Supreme Court of Queensland, Equal Treatment Bench Book (2nd ed, 2016).
    Although this bench book does not discuss the relationship between having a culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) background and domestic violence, Chapter 2 on ‘Ethnic, Religious, Spiritual and Linguistic Diversity’ and Chapter 3 ‘Religions in Queensland’ include Queensland population statistics in relation to birth country, language and religion. Additionally, Chapter 6 provides a discussion of effective communication in court proceedings and, most relevantly, Parts II and III provide information about working with interpreters. The bench book notes: ‘Ensuring people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds are able to comprehend and be understood in court proceedings is fundamental in achieving justice according to law’ (p.41).


  • Judicial College of Victoria, Family Violence Bench Book (2014).

    Section 5.6 - Culturally and Linguistically Diverse people, discusses the prevalence and experiences of family violence amongst CALD communities. It also dispels myths around violence against women being an accepted part of some cultures, explores barriers to reporting family violence, and provides contact information for specific services.

    In relation to perpetrators from CALD backgrounds, see especially section - Cultural and religious issues discussing the ways in which men from CALD backgrounds may perceive changes in gender roles and dynamics when settling in Australia as a challenge to their traditional roles.


  • Department of the Attorney General (WA), Equality before the Law: Bench Book (2009).

    The section on ‘Culturally and linguistically diverse people’ (ch7) includes Western Australian population statistics in relation to birth country, language and religion. It briefly considers cultural norms and differences and considers the use of interpreters in court. See also ‘points to consider’ (ch 10- Some issues particular to women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds may include:

    • more limitations on access to independent income;
    • unfamiliarity with English and limited access to interpreters, which may reduce access to information and support services; and
    • increased levels of social isolation.


  • Neilson, Linda C, Domestic Violence Electronic Bench Book (National Judicial Institute, 2017).
    Chapter 22: Minority/Immigration Status in domestic violence cases specifically discusses domestic violence in these contexts. See especially Section 22.2.4: Forms of Domestic Violence: Minority & Immigration Status, which provides a comprehensive overview of different types of behaviour that may specifically affect women from these groups. Also see Section 22.2.5: Potential responses to forms of domestic violence associated with minority and immigration status. Issues around language and translation are also raised in this chapter, but this discussion is more directed towards Canadian processes and access to these services. The bench book goes on to provide detailed discussion on immigration status and family law, and issues with residence status.