A better family law system to support and protect those affected by family violence

December 2017

© Commonwealth of Australia 2017
ISBN: 978-1-74366-728-6

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Executive Summary




Terms of Reference

  Terms of reference
  Principles for the conduct of the inquiry

List of Recommendations

1. Introduction

  Recent reviews and amendments
  Principles for a reformed family law system
  A triaged, actionable pathway for reform
  The inquiry process
  Community engagement strategy
  Structure of the report
  A note on terminology

2. Overview of the family law system

  State and territory courts exercising jurisdiction under family violence legislation
  Federal family law
  Interaction of family law and state/territory family violence legislation
  Interaction of family law system and child protection systems
  The system in practice

3. Challenges of current system

  Adversarial system
  Unresponsive to reports of family violence
  Family law system is inaccessible
  Abuse of process
  Coercion and consent orders
  Perjury and false allegations
  Fragmentation of jurisdictions
  Committee comment

4. A new family law system

  A new risk assessment tool across the entire family law system
  Out of court processes
  Design and delivery of court processes
  Legal representation in family law matters
  Administration and enforcement of court orders
  A recent initiative: Family Advocacy and Support Services
  Committee comment

5. Property division and financial recovery

  Existing options and challenges for property settlement
  Considering family violence in property division
  A new small property claims process
  Division of superannuation
  Treatment of joint debt and liabilities
  Procedural changes to support reform
  Committee comment

6. Matters involving children

  Recognising the impact of family violence on children
  Prioritising children’s safety
  Improving the information available to the courts
  Incorporating children’s perspectives in court
  Committee comment

7. Families with additional needs

  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families
  Culturally and Linguistically Diverse families
  Families with parents or children with disabilities
  Other groups with particular needs
  Committee comment

8. Strengthening the capacity of family law professionals

  Improving skills and expertise across the system
   Skills and expertise in specific professions
  Committee comment

9. Ongoing support services

  Court-based support services
  Housing and homelessness after family violence
  Economic support
  Behaviour change programs
  Committee comment

A. Recommendations from other reports

  Family Law Council –
  Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence (2016)
  Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence in Queensland–
  Australian Institute of Family Studies–
  Productivity Commission–
  Australian Law Reform Commission and NSW Law Reform Commission–
  Professor Richard Chisolm –

B. Australian Law Reform Commission - Review of the family law system

C. List of submissions

D. List of exhibits and additional documents

  List of exhibits
  List of additional documents

E. List of public hearings

F. Questionnaire findings

Additional Comments by Labor Members

Committee Secretariat contact:

Committee Secretary
House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs
PO Box 6021
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: +61 2 6277 2358