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The proposed expansion of the definition of family violence will potentially increase the complexity of the Family Law Act and create more confusion.The Law Council of Australia (LCA) has…

The proposed expansion of the definition of family violence will potentially increase the complexity of the Family Law Act and create more confusion.

The Law Council of Australia (LCA) has flagged its concern regarding the amendments contained in the Family Law Amendment (Family Violence Bill), claiming that the breadth of the proposed definition of family violence is inappropriate.

"The apparent intention of the proposed amendment - to send a clear message by a breadth of examples that a range of behaviours not involving physical violence may nevertheless constitute family violence - is commendable," said the chair of the LCA's family law section, Geoff Sinclair.

"But the breadth of the definition, particularly when viewed in the context of the various provisions of the Act, which are affected by the definition of family violence, is inappropriate and will cause significant problems."

While unsure of what form the final bill will take, the LCA has welcomed the proposed repeal of the mandatory costs provision.

"This provision can make it more difficult for genuine victims of violence to present their case without fear of costs orders being made against them if they are not believed," Sinclair said.

"The mandatory costs provision is morel likely to foment dispute between parties and distract them from the real issue of the children's welfare..."

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