An Australian-made short film on domestic violence as seen through the eyes of two victims could become a tool in helping judges deal with family violence in the courts.
The film Degrees of Separation was aired for the first time at a conference for family law professionals in Brisbane last weekend.
It was produced by Melbourne barrister Darren Mort, who decided to fund the $15,000 project himself after years of dealing with family violence in the court system.
He said he made the film to explore why so many victims either keep their ordeals a secret and often choose to live in denial.
Actors who took part worked for nothing to support the project.
It was never intended to be a training film, but family law experts who were the first people in Australia to see the film told the ABC it would be a perfect tool to re-skill judges and mediators in the Family Court.
Relationships Australia mediation trainer Lilia Szarski said the film showed there was a strong need to open the debate on how to recognise domestic violence “and why do we don’t do anything about it”.
Visiting US forensic psychologist Phil Stahl, who is also a member of the US National Judicial College, said the film would be powerful in educating senior figures in the justice system.
“This film can help educate judges both on the secrecy element of domestic violence and the powerfulness of domestic violence,” he said.
Mr Mort, who is also involved in the Victorian Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre, said he hoped his film did make a difference.
“Certainly in Australia judges can do with more training,” he said.
“There are a number of recent appointments by the [Federal] Attorney-General. Judges who have no experience whatsoever in family law matters, who are dealing with people’s lives day in and day out.”
Degrees of Separation is due to be released publicly next year.
By Lexy Hamilton-Smith
Read More: abc newsBack to News
The closest train stations are Town Hall, taking the Park Street exit, or St James Station, taking the Elizabeth Street exit. John R Quinn & Co. is on the corner of Park and Elizabeth.
Best parking is in the Domain parking station. Take the moving footway and cross Hyde Park to reach our offices.