Webinar: Legal Systems Abuse and Coercive Control

Updated: 5 days ago


Family Law Pathways Network presents:


Legal Systems Abuse and Coercive Control


Presented by Heather Douglas of Melbourne University Law School

Wednesday, 26 May 2021 1:00 - 2:30 pm AEST


Drawing on interviews with women who have engaged with the legal system as a result of domestic violence, this presentation explores how women’s engagement with the legal system is frequently experienced as an extension of their abusive partner’s coercive control. It shows how legal processes provide an opportunity for abusive partners to continue and even expand their repertoire of coercive and controlling behaviours post-separation.


The presentation will highlight a number of judgments that have identified legal systems abuse and makes some suggestions about how it can be dealt with.


There will be an opportunity for the audience to ask questions during the livestream of the webinar using the ‘chat’ function.


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Registered participants will be emailed a link for the webinar within 24 hours of the scheduled start time and will also have access to a recording of the webinar for a period of time following the live stream


Heather Douglas

Heather Douglas joined Melbourne Law School in 2021 and teaches and researches in the area of criminal law and procedure. Her expertise on legal responses to domestic and family violence is internationally recognised and she co-ordinates the National Domestic and Family Violence Bench Book.



Heather is currently working on an Australian Research Council funded research project exploring the application of non-fatal strangulation offences. She was an Australian Research Council Future Fellow from 2015-2019 and her project explored women’s engagements with the legal system as part of their response to domestic and family violence. Her book, Women, Intimate Partner Violence and the Law, was published by Oxford University Press in 2021. She is a member of the Melbourne Alliance to End Violence Against Women and Their Children (MAEVe).


Heather is an elected Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and the Australian Academy of Law. Previously she was a Professor at the University of Queensland, School of Law. Heather has held visiting fellowships at Humboldt University, Faculty of Law (2018); Durham University, Institute of Advanced Studies (2016) and Oxford University, Centre for Socio-Legal Studies (2004).