Social context/
Understanding family violence.

Crying statue

Friday 31st May 2024

Half Day EVENT | 9:00 AM-12:30 PM


Making the justice system safer for Affected Family Members (AFM's) remains a priority for all courts and tribunals.

In this introductory program, you will learn about foundational concepts such as the dynamics of family violence, coercive control and how to assess and respond to risk in your courtroom.

This event will provide judges with an opportunity to:

  • Develop knowledge and understanding of the dynamic and social context of family violence, including the concept of coercive control. 
  • Develop an understanding of the Multi Agency Risk Assessment and Risk Management (MARAM) framework’s risk factors and indicators. 
  • Develop practical skills and strategies for identifying and managing family violence risks in the courtroom. 

Note: This event is open to County Court judges only.


Journalist, author and speaker
Jess Hill
Jess Hill has become one of Australia's most recognised and respected thinkers on gendered violence. Her recent work includes two highly acclaimed documentary series on SBS, a Quarterly Essay titled The Reckoning, and a podcast series on coercive control titled The Trap. She has also spoken at over 300 events to diverse audiences across the country. Her work has received multiple awards, including two Walkley Awards and an Amnesty International Award. Her first book, See What You Made Me Do, won the Stella Prize in 2020. In 2023, she was named the marie claire Changemaker of the Year and in 2024, she was awarded the NSW Premier’s Woman of Excellence.
County Court of Victoria
Judge Kate Hawkins AM
Judge Kate Hawkins was appointed as Judge to the County Court of Victoria on 10th August 2021. Judge Hawkins had been a Magistrate since 2001 and was an inaugural member of the Online Magistrates’ Court, established to provide continued access to justice for the Victorian community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Judge Hawkins led the Magistrates’ Court’s submission to the Royal Commission into Family Violence and implementation of its recommendations, including the establishment of Specialist Family Violence Courts across Victoria. She held positions as Supervising Magistrate of Family Violence and Family Law; and of the Industrial Division of the Court. Prior to her appointment as a Magistrate, Judge Hawkins was a partner of a major law firm.
County Court of Victoria
Judge Anna Robertson
Judge Anna Robertson was appointed as a Judge of the County Court of Victoria on 22 June 2021. Prior to joining the Court, Judge Robertson practised as a barrister and a solicitor. Since July 2022, her Honour has been Head of the Appeals and Post-Sentence Applications List. In that capacity Her Honour has had responsibility for appeals from the Magistrates’ Court in family violence and personal safety intervention order matters. Her Honour has overseen the development of new processes for the hearing and determination of those appeals following the decision of J Dixon J in AAA v County Court of Victoria  [2023] VSC 13.
County Court of Victoria  
Judicial Registrar Belinda Bales
Judicial Registrar Bales was appointed as Judicial Registrar of the County Court in October 2021 and manages the Appeals and Post Sentence Applications List along with hearing and determining several other interlocutory applications and hearings across other lists of the Common Law Division, including the new Institutional Liability List. Her Honour also conducts regular judicial mediations to facilitate the early resolution of matters. Judicial Registrar Bales has over 20 years of experience in the Courts in areas including civil litigation, counter terrorism, legal policy, royal commissions and inquiries, health and medical law, family violence, coronial inquests, heritage protection and criminal prosecutions. Her Honour is the former chair of the Therapeutic Treatment Board of Victoria and Director/Board member of Safe Steps Victoria.
Magistrates’ Court of Victoria
Magistrate Therese McCarthy
In 2017, Therese McCarthy was appointed a magistrate of the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria. In 2021 Magistrate McCarthy was appointed to the Board of the Victoria Law Foundation as the representative of Victorian Courts’ Council. In 2022, she was appointed by the Chief Magistrate to the role of Supervising Magistrate, Family Violence and Personal Safety Intervention Orders. In this role, Magistrate McCarthy has oversight of the implementation of the court's work to enhance service delivery to the Victorian community through the Specialist Family Violence Courts programs at all headquarter courts. Magistrate McCarthy also provides leadership to magistrates within the family violence and personal safety practice areas, including chairing the judicial-led Family Violence Policy and Practice Group which supports the court's work. Magistrate McCarthy has worked with the United Nations at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in the Hague, Netherlands; the UN Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs in Syria; with AUSAID and the Director of Public Prosecutions in Papua New Guinea and with Action Aid International in Pakistan. This work has focused upon gender based violence, human rights, victims of crime, and access to justice.
Magistrates’ Court of Victoria 
Magistrate Tim Gattuso
Magistrate Gattuso was appointed to the Magistrates' Court of Victoria in December 2015 and is currently the Supervising Magistrate of Family Violence Crime, an ongoing appointment which his Honour has held since 2020. Magistrate Gattuso was the Lead Family Violence Magistrate at Frankston Magistrates court from 2018-2021. Prior to being appointed to magistracy, Magistrate Gattuso worked as a criminal law solicitor-advocate for 22 years. His Honour was a partner-director of Slades and Parsons Criminal Law from 2000 to 2015 and a Criminal law division executive at the Law Institute for 8 years, 3 years as co-chair.