Family Violence

The research paper question

Before 2014, the Victorian offence of defensive homicide failed to serve the purpose for which it was intended. Following the abolition of defensive homicide, the Victorian law of self-defence now adequately accommodates cases of self-defence where evidence of family violence is in issue.

With reference to the Crimes (Abolition of Defensive Homicide) Act 2014 (Vic), Crimes Act 1958 (Vic), Jury Directions Act 2015 (Vic), common law and relevant secondary sources, discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the above prompt.

Structuring your research and response to the research question

Satisfactorily answering the research question requires an understanding of:

The family violence provisions relevant to the law of self-defence in Victoria as it is today.

The new family violence provisions of the Jury Directions Act 2015 (Vic).

Whether (in your reasoned view) the current framework of self-defence and evidence of family violence in part IC of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) does or does not overcome the issues which led to the abolition of defensive homicide.

Your opinions need to be substantiated by reasoned arguments. Where they are not based on your own clear reasoning you need to indicate the source of those opinions and justify why they are valid.

Researching the issues raised

The research will involve the use of a number of resources to establish the relevant law and any positive, critical or negative commentary on it.
These include primary sources such as legislation and any relevant case law. They also include secondary sources including law reform, parliamentary committee or other reports on the law and recommendations for its reform second reading speeches, legal encyclopedias including Halsburys Laws of Australia or Laws of Australia, other text books regarded as being authorative or journal articles. In particular you will need to identify, locate and read the reports which led to the abolition of defensive homicide and the 2014 reforms to the law of self-defence.


To enhance your skills in:

A. locating, identifying and explaining relevant criminal law principles including relevant law reform reviews and proposals.
B. identifying and resolving problems in which criminal law is used including how law and legal processes should allocate and acknowledge moral culpability.
C. applying criminal law to resolving disputes in litigation and its complex interaction with other procedural and substantive law.
D. interpretation of legislation and case law.
E. oral and written legal analysis including a demonstration of an understanding of the differences between analytical writing which is required here – and descriptive and reflective writing.
F. problem solving, and
G. learning autonomously.

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