The Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2011 was passed by the Senate today (23 November).
In response to recommendations made by the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs' report on the bill, the Commonwealth Government made a number of amendments aimed at improving the effectiveness of the bill in prioritising the safety of children in parenting matters.
According to Commonwealth Attorney-General Robert McClelland, the amendments to the family violence measures will provide certainty around the commencement date of the provisions of the bill, and which matters the amendments will apply to; simplify the drafting of the new provision which requires the court to give greater weight to the protection of children from harm when determining what is 'in the child's best interests'; and will better define what a court can consider in relation to family violence orders when considering a child's best interests.
Welcoming today's passage of the legislation, McClelland also welcomed the recommendation made by the Australian Greens that a comprehensive risk assessment framework for family violence and child abuse be explored.
"It is important that professionals in the family law system are able to identify and address family violence and child abuse in the early stages of entering the family law system," said McClelland.
"I am pleased to announce that the Attorney-General's Department has recently contracted Relationships Australia South Australia to develop a standardised frontline screening process to identify safety risks for clients across the family law system."