The Senate Committee of Legal and Constitutional Affairs has endorsed reforms to the family law system.
The Committee recommended yesterday (22 August) that the Senate pass the Government's Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2011, to amend the Family Law Act 1975 to prioritise the safety of children.
The Attorney-General Robert McClelland welcomed the Committee's endorsement and said that the legislation would "significantly improve" protections to ensure the safety of children and reporting of violence.
"These reforms address a growing body of evidence which shows that family violence and child abuse pose a real and prevalent danger to children and the quality of their lives and development," said McClelland.
The Family Violence Bill strengthens the obligations of lawyers, family dispute resolution practitioners, consultants and counsellors to help protect child safety and ensures courts have better access to evidence of family violence.
The Bill also changes the meaning of 'family violence' and 'abuse' to "better capture harmful behaviour" and makes it easier for child protection authorities to participate in family law proceedings where appropriate.
During the consultation period the Bill had widespread public support, with over 400 submissions made. Most of these expressed support.