by Kate James
With the upcoming federal election, pressure is being put on Parliament to protect women and children in the family law system. Over ninety interest groups are endorsing a five step action plan to address family violence. The Safety First in Family Law plan aims to increase protections for people at risk in the legal system. This includes people who have been victims of family violence in their relationships, couples where there is an uneven distribution of power or instances of child abuse. The plan proposes changes to provide extra support in such instances, such as putting family violence experts in family court registries.
Heading the campaign is Rosie Batty, a prominent advocate against domestic violence since her son was killed by his father in 2014. She is asking Parliament to endorse the action plan, and calling on the community to show their support. She aims to present a petition to Parliament supporting the plan on the 30th of June – what would have been her son’s 14th birthday.
While Rosie Batty has put emphasis on women and children as those most likely to experience domestic violence, the reforms provide equal protections to both men and women experiencing family law issues. This includes one of the proposals of ensuring that victims of domestic violence are not cross-examined by their abuser in court.
Lending their voice to the campaign is Women’s Legal Services Australia, a community based service centre promoting inclusion in justice. Their goal of providing a safe, supportive and non-discriminatory legal framework is one Alliance shares. We work with them on an ongoing basis to consult with women in the community experiencing family law issues. We are a sympathetic and helpful listener, with our experienced team able to provide advice and help them access the legal system to get the outcome they want and the best for their family now and into the future.
If you are experiencing family law issues, including domestic violence or other power related issues, please contact us. We understand that feeling like you have a supportive legal team that you can count on behind you is important for anyone dealing with violent relationships. This is why we offer free half-hour initial consultations on an obligation free basis to give you a chance to meet us, get an idea of how your matter will be handled and decide if you want to move forwards with us. If you are interested in booking one of these consultations, please contact us on (02) 6223 2400.