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LIRC 2012 Panel Discussion

Public Interest Lawyering and Law Reform: Domestic Violence

The Legal Intersections Research Centre in the Faculty of Law is holding a public interest panel with the theme of domestic violence. The aim of the panel is to explore models of public interest lawyering and legal reform currently being undertaken in the area of domestic violence. This forum will provide an opportunity to hear from those working in the area about issues of current concern in domestic violence, discount and to explore opportunities for collaboration between the Law Faculty and the community around these issues.

Wednesday 3 October 2012

4.30 – 6.00 pm

Location: University of Wollongong



Presentations from:

Mr Phillip Dicalfas, store Principal Solicitor, illness Illawarra Legal Centre

Victims’ Compensation in cases of domestic violence

Phillip Dicalfas is Principal Solicitor at Illawarra Legal Centre practising in victims’ compensation and apprehended domestic violence orders (ADVOs).  He was previously principal solicitor at Macarthur Legal Centre where he was a duty solicitor in ADVO matters atCampbelltown Local Court. At that centre and at South West Sydney Legal Centre he oversaw the Domestic Violence Court Assistance Scheme. He has been the convenor of a committee of the National Association of Community Legal Centres.

Phillip will particularly discuss the Centre’s work in the area of Victim’s compensation for victims of domestic violence.


Ms Liz Snell, Law Reform and Policy Coordinator, Women’s Legal Service NSW Sexual Assault Communications Privilege Pilot Project

Liz Snell is the Law Reform and Policy Co-ordinator at Women’s Legal Services NSW. Liz has a background in human rights law, policy and education and is a strong advocate for women’s rights.  In 2011, Liz was a member of the NGO Coalition delegation to Geneva for Australia’s inaugural Universal Periodic Review appearance before the United Nations Human Rights Council.

During the panel discussion, Liz will share how Women’s Legal Services NSW has worked with clients and Counsel to help establish case law for a public interest benefit.  She will also discuss the Sexual Assault Communications Privilege Pilot Project which was co-ordinated by Women’s Legal Services NSW in partnership with the NSW Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, law firms Blake Dawson (now Ashurst), Clayton Utz and Freehills and the NSW Bar Association and which resulted in improvements to legislation and increased funding for services.


Professor Julie Stubbs,University ofNew South Wales

Reflections on law reform processes in the context of domestic violence and priorities for the future

Julie Stubbs has undertaken research concerning domestic violence and other forms of violence against women for more than two decades. Her current research includes a study (with Dr Jane Wangmann from UTS, Dr Lesley Laing from the University of Sydney and Betty Green from the DV Coalition) of the policing of domestic violence in NSW examining the outcomes of a presumptive arrest policy for women. She is also undertaking a comparative study (with Professor Elizabeth Sheehy of the University of Ottawa and Associate Professor Julia Tolmie of the University of Auckland) of battered women’s homicide cases. Julie is an adviser to Vic Health on violence against women, and has been a member of the NSW Advisory Panel on Domestic and Family Homicides and the NSW Criminal Justice Sexual Assault Taskforce.

Julie has contributed to a number processes and reviews intended to improve legal responses to domestic violence and will offer some reflections on those processes, their outcomes and the risks of unintended consequences. For instance, has the increased reliance on arrest for domestic violence resulted in some women victims being criminalised? Would the abolition of the partial defence of provocation result in more battered women being convicted of murder? She will also highlight ongoing challenges and areas where much work remains to be done.



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