Coroners Court New South Wales

Domestic violence death review

Role and function

The Domestic Violence Death Review Team (DVDRT) was established in 2010 under the Coroners Act 2009 (NSW) to review deaths occurring in the context of domestic violence in New South Wales. The review has both a qualitative (individual case) and quantitative review function. The review looks into cases of domestic violence and uses these as a window, or a lens, into systems, services and communities, identifying opportunities for intervention, prevention or where the story may be been changed.

The DVDRT is a multi-agency committee that undertakes comprehensive analyses of deaths occurring in a context of domestic violence to identify issues arising in individual, or across, cases, identify trends and patterns in quantitative data, highlight limitations or weaknesses in service delivery from its qualitative analysis and make recommendations. The DVDRT is staffed permanently by an Executive constituting a Manager and a Research Analyst.

The DVDRT aims to develop and promote domestic violence intervention and prevention strategies so as to reduce the likelihood of deaths occurring in similar circumstances in the future, and to improve the response to domestic violence more generally.

The DVDRT reviews individual closed cases of domestic violence deaths occurring in New South Wales and identifies systemic issues; meaning issues in the ways in which systems operate or where systems do not reach. The DVDRT understands domestic and family violence as a complex, intergenerational and 'wicked' problem that requires complex responses that reach across government, non-government and community. The DVDRT also collects data, including broad prevalence and disaggregated domestic violence context data in relation to homicides and suicides.

The DVDRT is a member of the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Death Review Network and through this, and other bodies, undertakes research that aims to improve responses to domestic and family violence. 

The DVDRT reports to the NSW Parliament biennially, setting out findings from the qualitative case analysis and the recommendations which are derived from this analysis. This report also profiles the Team's quantitative data and any recommendations that may derive from this. The DVDRT undertakes public monitoring of its recommendations and responses to these in its tabled reports and on its website.

The DVDRT Executive also works with Coroners on open cases of domestic violence related deaths.

The philosophy of the DVDRT like death reviews nationally and internationally, is to enhance our collective understanding of the scourge of domestic violence in our communities by learning from these tragic, radiating and serious cases. 

DVDRT Membership

The DVDRT is convened by Her Honour Magistrate Teresa O'Sullivan, State Coroner and brings together representatives from key Government agencies, including:

  • NSW Police Force
  • Aboriginal Affairs NSW
  • Department of Communities and Justice
  • Youth Justice NSW
  • Legal Aid NSW
  • Corrective Services NSW
  • NSW Health
  • Department of Education

The team also includes two non-Government service providers and two non-Government sector experts.

Members are appointed by the Attorney-General for a period of 2 years and a number of new appointments are currently progressing. A complete list of members will be published once that process is finalised.


The Team reports to Parliament on domestic violence deaths reviewed in the previous year.

Government responses to Reports

The Australian Domestic and Family Violence Death Review Network 

The Australian Domestic and Family Violence Death Review Network (the Network) was established in 2011 to analyse and improve knowledge about deaths that occur in a context of domestic and family violence.  It was set up to share findings and recommendations across jurisdictions in order to improve the response system and thereby prevent future deaths. Under this mandate, the Network developed a first-stage National Minimum Dataset (NMDS) to examine national trends and patterns with respect to intimate partner homicides preceded by a reported or anecdotal history of domestic and family violence (IPV homicides).

In 2018, the Network published the inaugural Australian Domestic and Family Violence Death Review Network data report which presented NMDS data for IPV homicides occurring between July 2010 and June 2014. In 2020, ANROWS was funded to work in partnership with the Network to produce a second report, which updates and builds on the data presented in the 2018 report, providing data findings from the NMDS on IPV homicides from July 2010 to June 2018. 

Network reports

Last updated:

15 Dec 2023

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