Review of deaths from domestic and family violence
The Domestic and Family Violence Death Review and Advisory Board is responsible for the systemic review of domestic and family violence deaths in Queensland.
The establishment of the board was a key recommendation from the Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence Final Report, Not Now, Not Ever: Ending domestic and family violence in Queensland (Queensland Government).
Board role and functions
Under the Coroners Act 2003, the board can:
- analyse data and apply research to identify patterns, trends and risk factors relating to domestic and family violence deaths in Queensland
- conduct research to prevent these types of deaths
- write reports to identify key lessons and elements of good practice in preventing domestic and family violence deaths in Queensland
- make recommendations to the minister about improving legislation, policies, practices, services, training, resources and communication to prevent or reduce the likelihood of domestic and family violence deaths in Queensland.
In reviewing deaths, the board’s primary function is to identify issues with service systems, not investigate the circumstances of individual deaths.
The board can gather further information if necessary, and review open coronial matters and cases where criminal proceedings are ongoing.
View the procedural guidelines for the board .
The Board comprises representatives of government and non-government organisations, and is chaired by the State Coroner.
State Coroner Terry Ryan, State Coroner of Queensland and Chair of the Domestic and Family Violence Death Review and Advisory Board — State Coroner Ryan is responsible for overseeing and managing the state’s coronial system. Having a background in both social work and law, he worked in private practice and a range of government positions from 1984 to 2013. Before his appointment as State Coroner in 2013, he supported the administration of justice and the courts as Deputy Director-General, Justice Services in the Department of Justice and Attorney-General.
Professor Kathleen Baird is a midwife, midwifery academic and researcher, and Deputy Chair of the Domestic and Family Violence Death Review and Advisory Board Queensland. Professor Baird is currently the Professor of Midwifery, Head of Midwifery Discipline and Research Director for the Centre for Midwifery, Child and Family Health at the University of Technology Sydney and Adjunct Professor at Griffith University. Kathleen has expertise is translating research into practice as evidenced by her work leading to the introduction of routine antenatal screening for domestic violence and maternity models of care in the health sectors both in the UK and Australia. Kathleen has collaborated with other statutory and community agencies in domestic and family violence, developed and implemented training tools from her research, leading to a sustained change in practice and improving outcomes for mothers, babies and families. Kathleen was a Council member of the Queensland Domestic and Family Violence Implementation Council. In the last 10 years, she has authored and co-authored over 70 publications in relation to Domestic and Family Violence and the response of health services.
Dr Molly Dragiewicz, Associate Professor in the School of Criminology & Criminal Justice at Griffith University — Molly is an internationally award-winning criminologist whose research focuses on violence and gender. Her current research is focused on domestic violence and technology and post-separation abuse. Molly won the 2019 Saltzman Award for Contributions to Practice from the American Society of Criminology Division on Women and Crime; the 2018 Domestic Violence Prevention Leadership Award from the Domestic Violence Prevention Centre Gold Coast; and the 2017 Robert Jerin Book of the Year Award for Abusive endings: Separation and divorce violence against women from the American Society of Criminology Division on Victimology.
Ms Betty Taylor, Chief Executive Officer at the Red Rose Foundation — Betty is the CEO and founder of the Red Rose Foundation. She has worked across the domestic violence sector for the past 31 years. She was the founding Manager of the Gold Coast Domestic Violence Prevention Centre and oversaw the development of the Gold Coast Domestic Violence Integrated Response. She chaired the Queensland Domestic Violence Council for 2 terms. Betty has written several training manuals including course material of the accredited Course in Responding to Domestic & Family Violence and Dying To Be Heard, a discussion paper looking at domestic violence death reviews. Betty was awarded a Churchill Fellowship and Centenary Medal in recognition of her work in domestic violence intervention and prevention. Betty is a current board member of the Gold Coast Centre Against Sexual Violence.
Ms Rosemary O’Malley, CEO of the Domestic Violence Prevention Centre (DVPC) — Rosemary commenced working for DVPC in 2009 and was the Manager of the Men’s Domestic Violence Education and Intervention Program (MDVEIP) for seven years. Previously she worked for many years at Queensland Corrective Services (QCS), where she commenced facilitating the MDVEIP in 2005. Her academic background is in criminology, and she has contributed articles to journal articles, and contributed a chapter to the book, Domestic Violence, Working With Men: Research, Practice Experiences, and Integrated Responses. In 2011 she travelled to the United States to investigate good practice regarding men’s programs, fathering programs, and integrated responses, and she delivers workshops and speaks at conferences throughout Australia on collaborative practice to improve the safety and well-being of those experiencing or escaping domestic violence. Rosemary is also the Convenor of the Queensland Domestic Violence Services Network.
Ms Angela Lynch, Chief Executive Officer at the Women’s Legal Service Queensland — Angela is a lawyer and has had a long history with the Service including applying her practical knowledge of the legal issues confronting women who have experienced domestic and family violence into broader systemic change.
Commissioner Paul Stewart APM commenced with Queensland Corrective Services (QCS) in 2018. Commissioner Stewart was previously Deputy Commissioner for QCS’s Community Corrections and Specialist Operations. During this time, he was the senior responsible officer for a number of transformational bodies of work, including the Queensland Parole System Reform and the QCS Intelligence Review. Before joining QCS, Commissioner Stewart had a 35-year career in the Queensland Police Service, holding positions including the Assistant Commissioner of People Capability Command and Community Contact Command and as the Chief Information Officer and the Director of Media and Public Affairs.
Commissioner Stewart holds a Master of Technology Management, a Bachelor of Science and is a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Academy in Quantico, Virginia with studies in police leadership and management, human behaviour, criminal profiling and crime analysis. Commissioner Stewart is also a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and holds extensive experience serving on a range of Boards across the criminal justice system
Ms Keryn Ruska is an Aboriginal woman from the Noonuccal tribe of the Quandamooka people of North Stradbroke Island. Keryn is a solicitor with extensive experience in the fields of family law, child protection and domestic violence. She is currently the coordinating lawyer at HUB Community Legal Centre and has previously worked as a solicitor at Caxton Legal Centre and coordinator of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Legal and Advocacy Service. Keryn has also been employed as a cultural project officer in the Office of the Child and Family Official Solicitor in the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women and as an academic at Griffith University. Keryn is currently a member of the Queensland Law Society’s Human Rights and Civil Law Committee and the Queensland Coroner’s Domestic and Family Violence Death Review Board and was previously a member of the Domestic and Family Violence Implementation Council's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group.
Dr Kylie Stephen is the Acting Executive Director of the Office for Women and Violence Prevention, Department of Justice and Attorney-General in Queensland. Kylie’s early career focused on teaching and research in the fields of political science and gender politics. She has since worked in policy, program and operational roles across a range of human service portfolios, including community services, child safety, community recovery and gender equality in both the United Kingdom and Queensland. Kylie’s current responsibilities include leading key initiatives and reforms that deliver on the Government’s investment in addressing domestic, family and sexual violence under the Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Strategy 2016-2026; Prevent. Support. Believe. Queensland’s Framework to address Sexual Violence; and Queensland’s Framework for Action: Reshaping our approach to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Domestic and Family Violence; and the promotion of gender equality under the Queensland Women’s Strategy 2016-2021. Kylie’s qualifications include a PhD – Government, from the University of Queensland (1997) and a Bachelor of Arts (First Class Honours) from the University of Queensland (1992).
Assistant Commissioner Brian Codd currently leads the Queensland Police Service (QPS) Domestic, Family Violence and Vulnerable Persons Command, which was established in March 2021. Since taking up this position, Assistant Commissioner Codd has established a pathway towards a more victim-centric, trauma informed policing response to domestic and family violence which will provide better protection for vulnerable members of our community, strengthen public confidence and positively contribute to the broader integrated service system. A career police officer with more than 37 years of service, Assistant Commissioner Codd’s professional experience encompasses investigations, intelligence, covert services, education and training, incident/disaster command, specialist tactical command and regional and command executive roles.
Brian was awarded the Australian Police Medal (APM) in the Queen’s Birthday honours list in 2012 for his distinguished service.
Kristina Deveson, Senior Director, Courts Innovation Program, Magistrates Court Services Queensland — Kristina is responsible for the effective operation of specialist courts and programs across the State, including Court Link, Specialist Domestic and Family Violence Courts, the Queensland Drug and Alcohol Court and Murri Court. She is responsible for developing strategies and driving reforms that reflect a therapeutic jurisprudence approach, address the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the justice system, and improve the justice system response to Domestic and Family Violence. Kristina has a background in both law and policy, including the development of legislative reform.
Accessing research and data
Agencies with relevant policy responsibilities can request access to the research and data held by the Domestic and Family Violence Death Review Unit, which supports the board:
- View the Research and Data Sharing Protocol .
- View a statistical overview of Queensland domestic and family homicide data .
Queensland Government response
Other relevant research
Sharman, L. S., Douglas, H., & Fitzgerald, R. 2021. Review of domestic violence deaths involving fatal or non-fatal strangulation in Queensland. (The University of Melbourne/The University of Queensland).
Under the Coroners Act 2003, the State Coroner may allow researchers access to coronial information for the purpose of conducting genuine research. In 2020, the State Coroner approved Dr Leah Sharman, Dr Heather Douglas and Dr Leah Fitzgerald to access to data on coronial investigations into domestic and family violence related homicides that have occurred in Queensland. Accordingly, this research has not been endorsed or approved by the Board, and therefore the content and findings do not represent the views of the Board or individual members.