Judge Joe Harman from the Federal Circuit for the Family court warns against trying to seek ‘quick fixes’ to family violence. These cases are not about finding the fastest solution, but rather the one most appropriate for the individuals and families.
Family violence has always been around; however, it is only recent that public discussion of these cases has been perceived as socially acceptable. Family violence is widespread, effecting 1 in 4 women and, on average, causing the death of one Australian Woman each week. While these matters are confronting and inherently personal, the sheer number of people effected highlights the need for public discussion and more accessible remedies.
Judge Harman comments on the shifts in societal attitudes, as it is now acknowledged that these matters are not private and do not have to be resolved behind closed doors.
Harman talks about how the court process can be a beneficial point of call, however, he also adds that society is too reliant on the court system and that many matters should attempt alternative avenues with courts as a last resort. The decision of whether to use a court is intrinsically personal and in situations where parties want to maintain autonomy, a court may not be the most appropriate path of recourse. Judge Harman notes that courts are rarely necessary as, “people just need to be encouraged to focus and resolve.” He believes this is specifically relevant to domestic violence where courts can be an additional burden due to the cost, delays, lack of control and reoccurring stress.
While these arguments are important considerations, and parties should spend the time researching costs and procedures of courts to make sure it is the most suitable avenue, this doesn’t mean court is always inappropriate. When matters cannot be resolved amicably, parties should not hesitate to seek external aid. Especially when facing the threat of domestic violence or abuse, the most important thing is to get the level of protection needed and intervention where necessary. Judge Harman’s thoughts are important to think about when weighing up the decision to go to court, however individuals should make the decision most appropriate to them.
If you have experienced family violence please do not hesitate to contact Cristina Huesch or one of our experienced solicitors, Sharla Stevens or Angela Li, here at Alliance Family Law on (02) 6223 2400. Or look at our support and advice page on Domestic violence: https://www.familylawincanberra.com.au/our-services-2/domestic-violence-support-and-advice-links/