Foreword

Family violence is one of the most challenging and confronting issues facing the Family Court and the Federal Circuit Court. The Family Violence Plan 2014–16 represents a major commitment by both courts to the early identification and management of matters where violence, or the risk of violence, is alleged.

The overarching purpose of the Plan is to protect the most vulnerable members of our community—children—and their families from the harm associated with experiencing or being exposed to family violence.

The Plan builds on the work undertaken from 2004 onwards under the Family Court's Family Violence Strategy, and the ongoing work of the Federal Circuit Court in this important area. It reinforces the commitment both courts have made to addressing family violence, including the measures contained in the joint Family Violence Best Practice Principles.

The Plan builds on the work undertaken from 2004 onwards under the Family Court's Family Violence Strategy, and the ongoing work of the Federal Circuit Court in this important area. It reinforces the commitment both courts have made to addressing family violence, including the measures contained in the joint Family Violence Best Practice Principles.

The Plan reflects contemporary understandings of the aetiology, dynamics and effects of family violence, as informed by new and emerging social science research. It has also been formulated in the context of the increasing emphasis the Government has placed on addressing family violence in the family law arena, evidenced by the passage of significant amendments to the Family Law Act in this critical area in 2011.

The Plan is an overarching document that contains actions for the administration of the courts, and for decision makers, legal practitioners, service providers and others involved in the family law system. It contains six priority areas, each of which has a defined goal and identified actions, responsibilities and timelines. The Plan complements the courts' other plans that form part of the broad access and inclusion framework.

The Plan was developed following extensive internal and external consultation. We are grateful to everyone who contributed their time and energy in particular the courts' Family Violence Committee for its tireless work in bringing the Plan to fruition.

The Plan is a vital component of the courts' comprehensive strategy for tackling family violence. We commend it to you.

Diana Bryant AO, Chief Justice, Family Court of Australia

John Pascoe AO CVO, Chief Judge, Federal Circuit Court of Australia

Our vision

Family violence is effectively addressed in matters coming before the courts and a safe environment is provided for all those attending our premises.

Our goals

  • Make the courts' diverse client base, stakeholders and system participants aware of the courts' responses to family violence.
  • Adopt best practice risk assessment tools to better understand risks to safety or wellbeing for families who are separating or separated.
  • Ensure the courts' physical layout, processes and practices support client safety.
  • Give staff the awareness, skills and resources required to ensure all persons experiencing family violence are dealt with appropriately and their safety assured.
  • Understand the unique issues for particular communities in relation to family violence and use this information to inform administrative practices.
  • Use representative groups to inform target communities about family violence and the courts.
  • Ensure that clients experiencing or at risk of family violence are informed of, and referred to, appropriate community and support organisations.
  • Provide timely, reliable and proper information to state and territory courts, police and child protection agencies about existing family law orders.

About the Family Violence Plan

The importance of a Family Violence Plan

Family violence remains widespread in Australia affecting adults and children who experience it, and live in fear of it. It directly affects the physical and emotional wellbeing of families.

The courts recognise the importance of having a specific plan to support those experiencing, or at risk of, family violence.

This document, the Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia Family Violence Plan 2014–16 (the Family Violence Plan), commits the courts to a comprehensive set of actions that support clients experiencing family violence.

The scope of the Family Violence Plan

The Family Violence Plan is an overarching document that contains actions for:

  1. the administration of the courts, and
  2. decision makers, legal practitioners, service providers and others involved in the family law system through the Best Practice Principles which are published in a separate document, Family Violence Best Practice Principles – Edition 3.2 – December 2015.
  1. the administration of the courts, and
  2. decision makers, legal practitioners, service providers and others involved in the family law system through the Best Practice Principles which are published in a separate document, Family Violence Best Practice Principles – Edition 3.2 – December 2015.

The actions in the Family Violence Plan are specific and targeted. Measures include:

  • regular review of the Family Violence Best Practice Principles
  • adoption of screening and risk assessment tools and effective safety plan procedures
  • ongoing training and development of staff to enhance awareness and capability in addressing family violence
  • promotion of relationships with government agencies, community sector organisations and others engaged with family violence, and
  • communication of the courts' responses to family violence to court users, stakeholders and staff through the courts' websites, intranets and publications.

Developing the Family Violence Plan

The Family Violence Plan was developed by the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court Family Violence Committee ("the Committee") which has principal responsibility for providing advice to the Chief Justice, the Chief Judge and the Chief Executive Officer of both courts on the issue of family violence in the context of family law. In discharging this responsibility, the Committee regularly reviews and updates the courts' Family Violence Plan and Family Violence Best Practice Principles and undertakes other discrete projects.

In addition to internal judicial and staff consultation, consultation was undertaken with relevant peak and representative bodies. This allowed the Committee to develop, where possible, actions which address areas of concern and reflect the real needs of those experiencing family violence.

The Family Violence Plan is supported by the Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia, the Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and the Chief Executive Officer of both courts. Its implementation will be overseen and reported upon by the Committee.

The Family Violence Plan and the courts' Access and Inclusion Framework

The Family Violence Plan is part of the courts' Access and Inclusion Framework, which focuses on access to justice and social inclusion and acknowledges the many areas of overlap between the following plans:

  • Family Violence Plan
  • Disability Action Plan
  • Multicultural Plan
  • Indigenous Action Plan
  • Mental Health Support Plan

The courts recognise that each client has a unique set of needs and the courts will strive to tailor services to meet those needs and to facilitate access to justice.

Setting the scene

The courts

The Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia1 have jurisdiction in family law matters in all states and territories except Western Australia, which has its own Family Court.

Although the courts are independent of each other, they cooperate to provide streamlined access including:

  • a single point of filing regardless of which court handles the application
  • a national telephone and email enquiry centre and a website that provides information about both courts
  • high quality services to litigants and the community
  • easy transfer of cases between courts when ordered by a court, and
  • access to services for the resolution of family disputes.

In addition, the courts' administration provides resources and administrative services to the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia to support the judiciary and the users of the respective courts.

The courts and family violence

Issues of family violence and child abuse have a prominent place in the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) ("the FLA") and, in particular, in Part VII which concerns children. In 2011, the definition of family violence in the FLA was expanded to incorporate notions of coercion and control (which are not always accompanied by physical violence or threats)2. At the same time, the definition of child abuse was amended to include serious psychological harm arising from the child being subjected to or exposed to family violence3. The FLA contains a range of provisions designed to protect parties and children from family violence.

The courts recognise the close connection between family breakdown and violence, and the detrimental impact on both adult victims and children living with family violence. Protecting family members, and particularly children, from the effects of family violence is central to all determinations of what is in a child's best interest. Ensuring the safety of all people engaged in the family law system, including when attending court, is also a high priority for the courts.

The Family Violence Best Practice Principles

After significant changes were made to the FLA in 2006, the Family Court of Australia developed the Best Practice Principles to assist decision makers. It was later recognised that the Best Practice Principles could be a valuable tool for all individuals and agencies involved in cases in which allegations of family violence, or risk of family violence, are raised. The notion that the Best Practice Principles could assist a wider audience was informed by a series of reports4 in which recommendations were made about how courts exercising jurisdiction under the FLA, and others, should address issues of family violence and abuse.

The current version (3.2) of the Family Violence Best Practice Principles has been developed by the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and contributes to furthering the courts' commitment to protecting litigants and children from harm resulting from family violence and abuse5.

The Best Practice Principles recognise:

  • the harmful effects of family violence and abuse on victims
  • the prominence given to the issue of family violence in the FLA, and
  • the principles guiding the case management system for the disposition of cases involving allegations of abuse of children.

The Best Practice Principles apply in all cases involving family violence or child abuse (or the risk of either) in proceedings before courts exercising jurisdiction under the FLA, and provide useful background information for decision makers, legal practitioners and individuals involved in these cases.

While primarily focused on adjudication rather than administration, the principles have informed the administrative strategies of the courts and underpin the Family Violence Plan.

Informing the Family Violence Plan

The courts don't exist in isolation—their internal and external environments influence operations, priorities and what is possible. Legislative changes, external consultation, economic and social factors and the findings from key reports have all influenced the Family Violence Plan.

Legislative changes

In developing the Family Violence Plan the Committee was informed by the substantive amendments to the FLA made by the Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Act 2011 (Cth), which came into effect on 7 June 2012.

The amendments expanded the definition of family violence and child abuse and introduced a definition for exposure to family violence. The amendments are more fully described in the earlier section, The courts and family violence.

External consultation

In developing the Family Violence Plan, the Committee engaged with representative, peak and advocacy organisations to better understand issues of family violence, and more specifically, to identify areas where the courts can improve their support for clients experiencing, or at risk of, family violence.

The Committee would like to thank the following organisations and individuals for their input:

  • The Australian Human Rights Commission
  • The Women's Legal Service (national body)
  • The Family Violence Clearing House
  • Women's Services Network (WESNET)
  • Australian Women Against Violence Alliance
  • Heather Nancarrow, Director, Queensland Centre for Domestic and Family Violence Research.

The following themes emerged during consultation:

  • the importance of early and multiple opportunities to identify family violence through forms, the Commonwealth Courts Portal, questions asked by staff, consistent processes to ensure safety at court, and other increased support for people experiencing violence
  • the need for the courts' physical environment to better support safety, particularly recognising issues regarding proximity to perpetrators, entry and exit issues and that people experiencing violence will often not read signs
  • the need for listing and court event scheduling practices to minimise fear and/or risk of incident by minimising the physical proximity of parties. This could include options such as video or telephone attendance and separate day appointments
  • the need to understand the real level of risk. Because family violence is prevalent in cases before the courts, it is easy for staff to start seeing family violence as "trivial" rather than understanding the real human risk to those experiencing it. The use of a safety indicator to identify different levels of risk may help overcome this issue, and
  • the need for appropriate referral to the right local support services as this remains critical for those experiencing violence.

Consultation undertaken during development of the courts' Multicultural Plan also identified specific issues for those from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, particularly for new immigrants and refugees experiencing family violence. Disclosure and seeking help is complicated by factors such as potential distrust of authority, lack of understanding of rights and support available, language barriers and potential alienation from families and communities.

Reports, findings and recommendations

A range of recent reports have made findings and recommendations regarding family violence and the law. The following reports have informed the actions in the Family Violence Plan:

  • Family Courts Violence Review (Professor Richard Chisholm, November 2009)
  • Improving responses to family violence in the family law system: An advice of the intersection of family violence and family law issues (Family Law Council, December 2009)
  • Evaluation of the 2006 Family Law Reforms (Australian Institute of Family Studies, December 2009)
  • Post-Separation Parenting Arrangements and Development Outcomes for Infants and Children (Jennifer McIntosh, Bruce Smyth, Margaret Kellaher, Yvonne Wells & Caroline Long, May 2010)
  • No Way To Live (Dr Lesley Laing, June 2010)
  • Family Violence and Commonwealth Laws – Improving Legal Frameworks (Australian Law Reform Commission, November 2011)
  • Government Response to the Australian and NSW Law Reform Commissions: Family Violence – a national legal response (Australian Government, June 2013).

Other contextual factors and trends

A range of social, economic and other factors have been considered in developing the Family Violence Plan. They include:

  • that family violence remains widespread in Australia, affecting adults and children who experience it and live in fear of it
  • the significant challenges facing newly arrived families, including concerns about family violence as changing gender roles threaten traditional power relations
  • family violence in the context of how it may affect people from Indigenous backgrounds, culturally and linguistically diverse communities, rural communities and those living with a disability
  • the need for other courts and organisations with a proper interest in family violence and child protection matters to have timely and accurate access to relevant information about existing federal family law orders and pending proceedings for such orders, and
  • that the courts are members of the wider family law system which presents an opportunity to connect clients experiencing family violence to organisations that provide support services. This obligation extends to making information available to perpetrators.

The tight fiscal environment in which the courts operate means that actions have been identified which can be deployed primarily within existing funding. However, opportunities such as partnerships with peak bodies or community services providers may be pursued to find additional external sources of funding.

Areas of focus

Based on the above evidence considered by the Committee and consulted experts, the following areas have been identified as priorities in the Family Violence Plan:

  1. Information and communications
  2. Screening and risk assessment
  3. Operational processes, including safety at court
  4. Staff awareness and capability
  5. Community engagement
  6. Linking services.

Goals and actions

Area 1: Information and communication

Goal 1.1 Make the courts' diverse client base, stakeholders and system participants aware of the courts' responses to family violence

Action

Responsibility

Timeline

Target

Review and update the Family Violence Best Practice Principles

Family Violence Committee

Biennial review

Up to date Best Practice Principles

Review, and make recommendations, regarding the appropriate content, format and accessibility of:

  • family violence specific publications and web content – including the 'Do you have fears for your safety when attending court?' brochure
  • any family violence content that is, or should be, contained in general publications or web content
  • family violence content that relates to specific communities and may be published in other languages

Collate family violence information on one site with the provision of hyperlinks to external resources or databases and referral organisations

Review and make recommendations regarding the effectiveness of the search facility in providing access to information on the website

National Manager Communications

December 2015 and annual review

Documented recommendations

Implement recommendations from the review of publications and web material as accepted by the Family Violence Committee

National Manager Communications

Ongoing

Updated family violence publications and web content

Finalise and publish fact sheets on the effects of family violence and conflict on children

Principal, Child Dispute Services and National Manager Communications

December 2014

Published fact sheets

Investigate areas of best practice in family violence and identify minimum standards to be integrated in protocols, referrals and administrative processes

Executive Advisor

July 2016

Documented best practices

Develop partnerships with external agencies to collaborate on the development of e-information to target the needs of mutual clients

Executive Advisor; and National Manager Communications

December 2015

Evidence of collaboration

Review the revised Child Dispute Services family violence policy available on the internet

Principal, Child Dispute Services; and National Manager Communications

December 2014

Updated Child Dispute Services family violence policy

As part of the social science seminar program, include specific family violence topics such as filicide research, the efficacy of men's behavioural groups and any relevant family violence screening tools

Principal, Child Dispute Services

Ongoing

Seminars conducted

Area 2: Screening and risk assessment

Risk screening is an essential part of identifying and addressing issues of family violence and child abuse in matters coming before the courts. The FLA and the Family Law Rules 2004 (Cth) and Federal Circuit Court Rules 2001 require any party alleging child abuse or family violence or the risk thereof to file a prescribed form6, which is a Notice of Child Abuse, Family Violence or Risk of Family Violence in the Family Court of Australia and a Notice of Risk in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. The form is designed to identify, at the earliest opportunity, all matters in which allegations of child abuse and family violence or the risk thereof are made and, in matters in which child abuse is alleged, to notify the relevant child protection authority.

Further screening is provided in the Family Court of Australia through the Case Assessment Conference which is generally the first court event. Case Assessment Conferences are not available in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia but that court is in the process of trialling a new risk screening process in which every party in parenting matters will be required to file a Notice of Risk containing specific questions directed at identifying issues of child abuse, family violence, mental illness, drug or alcohol abuse, serious parental incapacity or any other risk to a child.

Additional screening is provided in both courts when matters are referred to in-house family consultants for child dispute conferences, child inclusive conferences, the child responsive program and the preparation of family reports.

Goal 2.1 Adopt best practice risk assessment tools to better understand risks to safety or wellbeing for families who are separating or separated

Action

Responsibility

Timeline

Target

Review and make any required changes to the family consultants' national screening tool in light of the review of child dispute conferences, all s 11F and family reports and the development of the risk assessment framework

Principal, Child Dispute Services

December 2014

Updated national screening tool

Continue the development of a best practice risk assessment framework for use by Child Dispute Services

Principal, Child Dispute Services

December 2015

Best practice risk assessment framework (Child Dispute Services)

Area 3: Operational processes, including safety at court

Goal 3.1 Ensure the courts' physical layout, processes and practices support client safety while on the premises

Action

Responsibility

Timeline

Target

Review each registry's approach to safety for litigants when on court premises, including but not limited to: a review of use of security guards; arrival, departure and waiting processes; and signage and premises layout

Executive Director, Client Services; and the Marshal

December 2015

Documented outcomes from the review

Review the courts' safety plan procedures including whether a risk assessment is undertaken at each court event

Executive Director Client Services, Principal Registrar, and Principal, Child Dispute Services

December 2015

Documented review of safety plan procedures

When released, review the findings and recommendations from the University of Western Sydney's court safety research project "Fortress or Sanctuary" for approaches that can improve safety7

Executive Advisor

Within six months of release

Findings reviewed and recommendations made to the Committee

Implement recommendations above as accepted by the Committee

All

Ongoing

Evidence of implementation

Review, and amend as necessary, current measures used to identify and document potential security concerns before and during court events

Executive Director, Client Services; Principal Registrar; Principal, Child Dispute Services and Marshal

Ongoing

Updated process for identifying and documenting potential security concerns

Review the Initiating Application (Family Law) and response forms to explore the possible inclusion of a question seeking more general information, for example, 'Do you have any fears for the safety of you or your child or children that the Court should know about?' (Government Recommendation 30-2)

Include an administrative process in the safety at court process to ensure court staff respond to any new information collected as a result of a change in forms

Rules Committee

December 2014

Documented form review findings

Implement, if relevant, the outcomes of the review of forms above

National Manager Communications

January 2015

Updated forms (if agreed)

Review current listing (including urgent listing) and appointment practices including consideration of factors which increase the risk of family violence such as crowded waiting rooms, back to back appointments, and unguarded circuit accommodation

Executive Director, Client Services; Principal Registrar; and Principal, Child Dispute Services

July 2015

Documented listing practice review findings

Implement listing practice recommendations as accepted by the Committee

Executive Director, Client Services; Principal Registrar; and Principal, Child Dispute Services

Ongoing

Updated listing practices

Review, in light of the courts' Multicultural Plan, current arrangements for the provision of interpreter services to ensure cultural sensitivities are appropriately considered in the context of family violence

Myriad Consulting

December 2015

Document review of interpreter services

Implement outcomes of the review of interpreter services

Executive Director, Client Services; and Family Violence Committee

Ongoing

Improved interpreter practices

Review safety at court information that is currently provided with appointment letters for clarity and appropriateness

Executive Director, Client Services; Principal Registrar; Principal, Child Dispute Services; and Comms

July 2016

Evidence of implementation

Based on the findings of the Family Violence Amendments 12 Months On: on the crest of a wave report8:

  • identify and implement any required changes in family consultant (incl. regulation 7 family consultants) practices
  • develop family violence modules in relation to biases

Principal, Child Dispute Services

December 2015

Family consultant practices updated

Family violence modules in relation to biases completed

 

Undertake a follow up survey and analysis to the 'on the crest of a wave' report and report findings

Principal, Child Dispute Services

December 2015

Report with findings complete

Review and update Child Dispute Services' family violence policies and Child Dispute Services' family violence professional directions

Principal, Child Dispute Services

July 2016

Child Dispute Services' family violence policies and Child Dispute Services' family violence professional directions updated

Review, and update as necessary, all Child Dispute Services' policies to ensure family violence is prominently and appropriately addressed

Principal, Child Dispute Services

July 2016

Child Dispute Services' policies updated

 

Area 4: Staff awareness and capability

Goal 4.1 Give staff the awareness, skills and resources required to ensure all persons experiencing family violence are dealt with appropriately and their safety assured

Action

Responsibility

Timeline

Target

Adopt a consistent approach to security awareness training for all staff, as well as ensure that contracted security staff are aware of the dynamics of family violence in dealing with clients and their security concerns

Director, Human Resources; Executive Director, Client Services; Principal Registrar, and Principal, Child Dispute Services

 

Ongoing

Completed training

Review existing professional development training and development and associated products, including e-learning, and make recommendations for the inclusion and integration of family violence learning including:

  • educate staff on how to refer people experiencing family violence to external organisations for assistance and information
  • the effect of family violence on particular client groups such as CALD, disability, Indigenous and rural
  • any implications of the new definition of family violence
  • requirements for the filing of required notices of risk and their prompt processing

Executive Advisor; Director, Human Resources; Executive Director, Client Services; Principal Registrar; and Principal, Child Dispute Services

 

Ongoing

Completed training

Build competency regarding family violence into the courts' professional development framework

Executive Advisor; Director, Human Resources; Executive Director, Client Services; Principal Registrar; and Principal, Child Dispute Services

Ongoing

Professional development framework includes family violence competencies

Assess the potential for staff to participate in the Attorney-General's Department's AVERT Family Violence screening and risk assessment training

(Government Recommendation 22-5)

Director, Human Resources

December 2014

Assessment completed

If deemed appropriate by the Committee, coordinate staff participation in AVERT Family Violence training

Director, Human Resources

Ongoing

Completed training

Identify opportunities for the courts to collaborate with other courts in the delivery of training and, where appropriate, consider the option of sharing training materials

Executive Advisor; Director, Human Resources; Executive Director, Client Services; Principal Registrar; and Principal, Child Dispute Services

December 2015

Opportunities identified

Review and update the family violence section of the Core Knowledge Database and Connections with new research, useful website links and other information

Principal, Child Dispute Services

December 2014

Core knowledge database and Connections updated

Update induction materials and processes for new family consultants, including for Reg 7 family consultants

Principal, Child Dispute Services

December 2015

Induction materials updated

Ensure all staff can readily access the Family Violence Best Practice Principles, Family Violence Plan, Safety Plan Procedures, and family violence information on the intranet

National Manager, Communications

December 2014

Family Violence Best Practice Principles, Safety Plan Procedures, and family violence information are on the intranet and easily accessible

Area 5: Community engagement

Goal 5.1 Understand the unique issues for particular communities in relation to family violence and use this information to inform administrative practices

Action

Responsibility

Timeline

Target

At both registry and whole of organisation levels, re-establish, strengthen and/or maintain relationships using existing networks or forums, with a view to sharing information about family violence as it affects specific groups (i.e. Indigenous, CALD, disability and new arrivals)

Principal, Child Dispute Services (for family consultants only)

Review annually

Information sharing between staff

Through community engagement and research, undertake a review of family violence as it affects specific communities. Identify priority areas for action and recommend new or revised practices and information products in priority areas

Executive Advisor

Ongoing

Documented recommendations for new policies and approaches informed by evidence

Implement above recommendations, as approved by the Committee

Executive Advisor; Director, Human Resources; Executive Director, Client Services; Principal Registrar; and Principal, Child Dispute Services

Ongoing

New policies and approaches implemented and informed by evidence

Goal 5.2 Use representative groups to inform target communities about family violence and the courts

Action

Responsibility

Timeline

Target

Use partnerships with community organisations to inform specific communities (i.e. Indigenous, CALD, disability and new arrivals) about family violence and the courts on general and specific issues

Executive Advisor; Director, Human Resources; Executive Director, Client Services; Principal Registrar; and Principal, Child Dispute Services

Ongoing

Information provided to community organisations

Area 6: Linking services

Goal 6.1 Ensure that clients experiencing family violence are informed of, and referred to, appropriate community and support organisations

Action

Responsibility

Timeline

Target

Review and make recommendations regarding current use of referrals by client service staff to family violence support organisations

Executive Director, Client Services

Review annually

Documented recommendations regarding referrals

Update list of organisations where people experiencing family violence can go for assistance and information

Executive Director, Client Services

December 2014 and ongoing

Updated list of referral organisations

Ensure client service staff are making appropriate referrals

Executive Director, Client Services

Review annually

Documented referrals – frequency, how and to whom

Ensure family consultant referrals to family violence related service providers are based on correct information

Principal, Child Dispute Services

Ongoing

Updated list of referral organisations

Goal 6.2 Provide timely, reliable and relevant information to state and territory courts, police and child protection agencies

Action

Responsibility

Timeline

Target

Explore opportunities to work with state and territory courts dealing with family violence and child protection matters (and others with a proper interest in such matters, including police and child protection agencies) to ensure that they have reliable and timely access to relevant information about existing federal family law orders and pending proceedings for such orders

(based on Government Recommendation 30-8)

The Committee

December 2014 and ongoing

Contact made with state and territory courts to explore information sharing arrangements

Maintain relationships and collaborate with family law system participants with a view to identifying and addressing issues relating to family violence, through publishing examples of good practice, sharing information, coordinating programs and collaborating on projects

Executive Advisor; Director, Human Resources; Executive Director, Client Services; Principal Registrar; and Principal, Child Dispute Services

Ongoing

Information shared with other system participants

Sources

Australian Government (June 2013). Government Reponse to the Australian and NSW Law Reform Commissions: Family Violence – a national legal response, Canberra.

Australian Institute of Family Studies (December 2009). Evaluation of the 2006 Family Law Reforms, Melbourne.

Australian Law Reform Commission (November 2011). Family Violence and Commonwealth Laws – Improving Legal Frameworks, Sydney.

Chisholm, R (November 2009). Family Courts Violence Review, Canberra.

Department of Immigration and Citizenship (2013). Australian Government's Multicultural and Equity Policy, Canberra.

Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia (2012). Statement of Strategic Intent, Canberra.

Family Court of Australia (2004). Family Violence Strategy 2004–2005, Canberra.

Family Court of Australia (2004). National Cultural Diversity Plan 2004–2006, Canberra.

Family Law Council (December 2009). Improving responses to family violence in the family law system: An advice of the intersection of family violence and family law issues, Canberra.

Family Law Council (February 2012). Improving the Family Law System for Clients from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Background, Canberra.

Hemphill P (2013). On the crest of a wave: The Australian Family Violence Reforms one year later (unpublished paper presented by Pam Hemphill, Workshop 75, Association of Family and Conciliation Courts 50th Annual Conference, Los Angeles, California, 1 June 2013).

Parliament of Australia (2011). Domestic violence in Australia—an overview of the issues.Retrieved 1 October 2013, from Australian Parliament House website:http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/BN/2011-2012/DVAustralia#_Toc309798375

www.avertfamilyviolence.com.au/the-family-law-doors (accessed 2 September 2012).

Footnotes

 

1 In addition to family law, the Federal Circuit Court of Australia also hears general federal law matters. Administrative support for the Federal Circuit Court of Australia's general federal law work is provided by the Federal Court of Australia and is beyond the scope of this strategy.

2 Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Act 2011 (Cth) – the amendements referred to commenced 7 June 2012.

3 The new term of being "exposed" to family violence was inserted, and the definition section now provides that a child is "exposed" to family violence if the child sees or hears or otherwise experiences the effects of family violence. See s 4(1) and s 4AB(3)

4 See page 10 for a list of publications.

5 The Best Practice Principles were released by the Attorney-General in March 2009 and a revised version, encompassing both the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, was launched by the Attorney-General in July 2011. In April 2013 edition 3.1 was released as a result of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia Legislation Amendment Act 2012 (Cth). In December 2015 edition 3.2 was released with updated references to the prescribed forms.

6 For proceedings in the Family Court of Australia the form to be used and filed is located in Schedule 2 of the Family Law Rules 2004. For proceedings in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia the form to be used must be in accordance with Form 1 in Schedule 2; see rule 2.04(1B) of the Federal Circuit Court Rules 2001.

7 The Family Court of Australia is an Industry Partner on the project.

8 This report contains the findings of a survey of all family consultants and an analysis of 200 family reports and memos before and after the family violence amendments commenced in 2012