New research from the Australian Institute of Family Studies has shown that inter-parental conflict, fear, abuse or safety concerns remain prevalent for a significant number of parents following separation.
Two new reports, Parenting dynamics after separation and Views of adolescents in separated families, were delivered as the Family Violence Bill is due to be debated in the House of Representatives this week.
The study of more than 7000 separated parents revealed that despite the intention of reforms in 2006 to protect children from exposure to violence or abuse, most parents who reported recent experiences of being harmed physically indicated that their children had witnessed violence or abuse.
"These reports demonstrate that family violence or the fear of family violence is still prevalent in the community," said Attorney-General Robert McClelland.
The bill introduces new definitions of violence and abuse and is intended to remove previous barriers for people to bring forward evidence of family violence and child abuse.
"The bill continues to promote a child's right to a meaningful relationship with both parents, but with one key difference - it emphasises that the child's safety must come first in situations where there is conflict," said McClelland.
"These improvements need to happen and will significantly improve the law to ensure the safety of children in the family law system."