Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

Rhetoric versus reality in sentencing violent domestic offenders in WA: H (1995) 81 A Crim R 88

Whitney, K. (1997) Rhetoric versus reality in sentencing violent domestic offenders in WA: H (1995) 81 A Crim R 88. Sister in Law, 2 . pp. 119-133.

PDF - Published Version
Download (266kB)


In June 1994, Western Australian Chief Justice David Malcolm's
Taskforce on Gender Bias reported that:

“All domestic violence must be stopped and the criminal justice system is the first place that can affirm and enforce societal condemnation of violence against women. Domestic violence is a crime and must be consistently treated as such by the criminal justice system; it is not a social problem to be ‘managed’ by welfare agencies, Judicial response to domestic violence has traditionally left women victims without sufficient protection or remedy. The court system, as the police system, tends to view domestic violence as a family/private problem”.

Within one year of these criticisms of judicial response to domestic violence, Chief Justice Malcolm had the opportunity to meet the challenge raised by his Taskforce. In H, the Chief Justice had the chance to demonstrate that he fully appreciated the criminal nature of domestic violence, and that he was willing to sentence accordingly. Unfortunately, the Chief Justice and Justice Kennedy failed to meet this challenge on behalf of the Court. To the contrary, their Honours demonstrated that they continue to view domestic violence as a marital and/ or social problem, and that they are reluctant to deal seriously with violent domestic offenders. This view does not conform with their rhetoric that domestic violence ‘will not be tolerated’.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Law
Publisher: Enid Russell Society, School of Law, Murdoch University
Copyright: Enid Russell Society
Publisher's Website:
Notes: Quote from "Chief Justice's Taskforce on Gender Bias, Report of the Chief Justice's Taskforce on Gender Bias (30 June 1994) at 154-55."
Item Control Page Item Control Page


Downloads per month over past year