Safety and protection of victim and witnesses

Australia

  • Family Court of Australia, Do you have fears for your safety when attending court? (2020).
    This guideline provides contact numbers, web and email addresses for parties who have concerns about safety when attending court.
  • No to Violence (2021) Tips for engaging men on their use of family violence (fact sheet) Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria.

    This resource gives five tips for engaging men on their use of family violence:

    1. Safety – do not engage in a way likely to increase risk to the safety of vicitms;
    2. Identify invitations by men to collude in their behaviour - when responding to a man’s attempts to minimise, excuse or justify their use of violence, it is important to encourage them to re-evaluate their behaviour and self-exploration;
    3. Open the conversation - being curious and asking questions can help put his behaviour on the table;
    4. Experience of ex/partners and kids - encourage empathy for how his partner/kids are experiencing his behaviour, rather than his intentions or identity; and
    5. Change and support - identifying what a desirable future looks like can help reflection around what needs to change.

International

  • Ramsay, Gordon and Rhonda Martinson, ‘Building Attention to Witness Intimidation into Your Domestic Violence Policy’, (2014) The Police Chief Magazine 34-37.
    This article outlines the steps taken by criminal justice agencies and other service providers in Duluth, Minnesota, to address witness intimidation in the context of domestic violence. Duluth was selected as one of three demonstration sites for creating a Blueprint for Safety, a comprehensive plan integrating knowledge, research, demonstration projects and practice into a "blueprint" for city and county agencies responding to domestic violence. In 2011, Duluth criminal justice agencies partnered with other service providers to introduce the use of the safety audit process to determine where and how witness intimidation arises in the justice system, and how successful the system was in providing safety to victims and witnesses. Results of the audit found that while the Blueprint for Safety policy work incorporated attention to witness intimidation, it did not offer guidance for police officers and other responders to identify, document, or respond to witness intimidation. To address this gap, recommendations were made to create practice guides and training to police officers and responders to aid in identifying, documenting, investigating and prosecuting witness intimidation, as well as providing education to and safety planning with victims about the potential for witness intimidation. It was recommended that systemic problems that provide windows of opportunity for offenders to intimidate victims into dropping out of the criminal justice process, such as delays or gaps in information sharing, be addressed using Duluth’s existing coordinated community response structure.