Attorney-General Robert McClelland has today (11 November) released a draft bill proposing amendments to the Family Law Act to provide better protections for children and families at risk of violence.
The proposed amendments follow reports received by the Government from the Australian Institute of Family Studies, Professor Richard Chisholm AM and the Family Law Council.
"The reports illustrate that the family law system has some way to go in effectively responding to issues relating to family violence," McClelland said.
The draft Family Violence Bill seeks to amend the Family Law Act in areas including prioritising the safety of children; changing the meaning of 'family violence' and 'abuse' to better capture harmful behaviour; strengthening the obligations of lawyers, family dispute resolution practitioners, family consultants and family counsellors; ensuring courts have better access to evidence of family violence and abuse; and making it easier for state and territory child protection authorities to participate in family law proceedings where appropriate.
"The proposed legislative changes will not undermine the effectiveness of the Family Law Act in promoting a child's right to a meaningful relationship with both parents where there are no safety concerns," McClelland said.