Coroner's Court

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Domestic Violence Death Review Team Role and function

The Domestic Violence Death Review Team (DVDRT) was established in 2010 under the Coroners Act 2009 (NSW) to review deaths occurring in the context of domestic violence in New South Wales. The review has both a qualitative (individual case) and quantitative review function. The review looks into cases of domestic violence and uses these as a window, or a lens, into systems, services and communities, identifying opportunities for intervention, prevention or where the story may be been changed.

The DVDRT is a multi-agency committee that undertakes comprehensive analyses of deaths occurring in a context of domestic violence to identify issues arising in individual, or across, cases, identify trends and patterns in quantitative data, highlight limitations or weaknesses in service delivery from its qualitative analysis and make recommendations. The DVDRT is staffed permanently by an Executive constituting a Manager and a Research Analyst.

The DVDRT aims to develop and promote domestic violence intervention and prevention strategies so as to reduce the likelihood of deaths occurring in similar circumstances in the future, and to improve the response to domestic violence more generally.

The DVDRT reviews individual closed cases of domestic violence deaths occurring in New South Wales and identifies systemic issues; meaning issues in the ways in which systems operate or where systems do not reach. The DVDRT understands domestic and family violence as a complex, intergenerational and wicked problem that requires complex responses that reach across government, non-government and community. The DVDRT also collects data, including broad prevalence and disaggregated domestic violence context data in relation to homicides and suicides.

The DVDRT is a member of the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Death Review Network and through this, and other bodies, undertakes research that aims to improve responses to domestic and family violence. 

The DVDRT reports to the NSW Parliament biennially, setting out findings from the qualitative case analysis and the recommendations which are derived from this analysis. This report also profiles the Team's quantitative data and any recommendations that may derive from this. The DVDRT undertakes public monitoring of its recommendations and responses to these in its tabled reports and on its website.

The DVDRT Executive also works with Coroners on open cases of domestic violence related deaths.

The philosophy of the DVDRT like death reviews nationally and internationally, is to enhance our collective understanding of the scourge of domestic violence in our communities by learning from these tragic, radiating and serious cases. 

DVDRT Membership

The DVDRT is convened by the His Honour Magistrate Michael Barnes, State Coroner and brings together representatives from key government agencies as well as non-government service providers and sector experts.

Government members

The DVDRT's Government representatives, appointed pursuant to ss101E(3)(a)-(l), comprise:

  • Rosemary Caruana (Corrective Services NSW) 
  • Kristen Daglish Rose (Department of Justice)
  • Natasha de Silva (Women NSW, NSW Health)
  • Conjoint Associate Professor Adrian Dunlop (Centre for Population Health, NSW Health)
  • Assistant Commissioner Michael Fuller APM (NSW Police)
  • Sharon Gudu (Statewide Housing Services, FACS)
  • Melanie Hawyes (Juvenile Justice)
  • Mahashini Krishna (Victims Services)
  • Trisha Ladogna (Department of Education and Communities) 
  • Lorna McNamara (NSW Health)
  • Grace Romeo (Community Services, FACS)
  • Anthony Seiver (Aboriginal Affairs NSW, DEC)  
  • Natasha Luschwitz (Department of Premier and Cabinet)

 

​Non-government members

The DVDRT's non-Government service provider representatives, appointed pursuant to s101E(5)(a), comprise:

  • Christine Robinson (Wirringa Baiya Aboriginal Women's Legal Service)
  • Susan Smith (Sydney Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service)

The DVDRT's non-Government sector experts, appointed pursuant to s101E(5)(b), comprise:

  • Dr Lesley Laing (School of Social Work and Policy Studies, University of Sydney)
  • Dr Jane Wangmann (Faculty of Law, University of Technology Sydney)


Annual Reports

The Team reports to Parliament each year on domestic violence deaths reviewed in the previous year.

Government responses to Annual Reports