Family Law for the Future
On 9 May 2017 the Federal Government announced its intention to direct the ALRC to conduct the first comprehensive review into the family law system since the commencement of the Family Law Act in 1976, with a view to making necessary reforms to ensure the family law system meets the contemporary needs of families and effectively addresses family violence and child abuse.
Domestic and family violence and family law intersect frequently - over half of the matters heard in family court jurisdictions in Australia involve allegations of domestic and family violence - making domestic and family violence central to the work of the federal family law courts. Research has shown that family violence was a factor in 79% of family law cases receiving legal aid.3 This renders it vital that a modern family law system be domestic and family violence and trauma-informed, committed to progressing women and children’s safety, and not collude with the perpetration of further domestic and family violence and its effects. It is essential that the family law system keeps pace with the contemporary rights and needs of women and children, and present-day knowledge and understanding about the nature and dynamics of domestic and family violence.