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Thematic Issue: Conceptions of Ownership / General

Family Violence, Cross-Examination and Self-Represented Parties in the Courtroom: The Differences, Gaps and Deficiencies

Author

Tracey Booth, Miranda Kaye and Jane Wangmann

Since the early 2000s, the ability of a self-represented litigant alleged to have used domestic and family violence including sexual violence to personally cross-examine the alleged victim of that violence has been steadily restricted or prohibited across the Australian jurisdictions. These statutory limitations recognise the traumatic and negative impact such personal cross-examination can have on the alleged victim. All Australian jurisdictions restrict such personal cross-examination in sexual offence proceedings. Many jurisdictions also impose similar limitations in proceedings for other domestic and family violence related criminal proceedings and civil protection order proceedings. This article reveals a marked unevenness in protection for alleged victims both across and within jurisdictions. The lack of consistency in approach and lack of uniformity in provisions across the jurisdictions means that not all victims of domestic and family violence are protected, and for those who are, the nature and extent of those protections differ.

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