Greater Brisbane


A judicial perspective on the Australian family violence reforms 12 months on*

2014 | Research papers


The Hon Justice Steven Strickland and Kristen Murray

This paper discusses whether and to what extent the substantive reforms made to the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) by the Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Act 2011 (Cth) are achieving their objective of providing 'better protection for children and families at risk of violence and abuse'. The authors propose five 'measures of success' and identify five factors which may militate against the achievement of success. These are considered by reference to the decisions of the Family Court and Federal Magistrates Court (now called the Federal Circuit Court) made in respect of applications for parenting orders initiated on or after 7 June 2012 in which allegations of family violence were raised. Information obtained from a dedicated survey of registrars of the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court, and statistical data, is also analysed. Although the conclusions are necessarily preliminary, the authors form the view that the family violence reforms are reflective of community standards, have assisted in raising awareness about the nature and effects of family violence, and are arguably contributing to an increase in the use of protective measures such as injunctions and supervision of 'time spent' with a parent. However, several factors, including a lack of resources, the absence of legislative guidance as to how to proceed when an allegation is found to be substantiated, and the complexity of Pt VII, are potentially impeding the achievement of the
reform objective.


Not available
Children and Youth, Domestic and Family Violence, Families, Legal
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