6.1In the past decade, there has been significant attention in comparable jurisdictions on the matter of how the criminal justice system responds to victims of family violence who commit homicide. All jurisdictions that have examined this issue have recognised, to varying degrees, the difficulties faced by victims of family violence in successfully relying on self-defence (and, to a lesser extent, provocation). While no single “best practice” approach to reform has emerged, two distinct approaches appear to have taken shape.
6.2The first approach, pioneered in Victoria, which was followed to some extent in Western Australia and recently recommended in Tasmania, is to focus on reform of the defence of self-defence. This approach aims to more accurately and thoroughly recognise and accommodate the circumstances of those who commit homicide in response to prolonged family violence.
6.5We discuss below these different approaches taken in other countries. It is important to recognise that the reforms in each jurisdiction were intended, and must be considered, as a package of reforms and in the context of their existing criminal justice system.
6.6Set out in Appendix C is a table summarising homicide law in the different jurisdictions and the approach taken to recognise victims of family violence who commit homicide.