Govt Draft Bill Released to Public, Proposing Amendments to the Family Law Act for Better Protection Against Violence
Canberra, ACT (News4us.com) November 12, 2010
Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, today released a draft Bill for public consultation proposing amendments to the Family Law Act to provide better protections for children and families at risk of violence.
The proposed amendments are in response to reports received by the Government from the Australian Institute of Family Studies, Professor Richard Chisholm AM and the Family Law Council.
“The reports illustrate that the family law system has some way to go in effectively responding to issues relating to family violence,” Mr McClelland said.
“The safety of children is of critical importance in the family law system and the Gillard Government takes the issue of addressing and responding to violence very seriously. The draft Family Violence Bill sends a clear message that family violence and child abuse are unacceptable.”
The draft Family Violence Bill proposes amendments to the Family Law Act 1975 in the following key areas:
- prioritising the safety of children;
- changing the meaning of ‘family violence’ and ‘abuse’ to better capture harmful behaviour;
- strengthening the obligations of lawyers, family dispute resolution practitioners, family consultants and family counsellors;
- ensuring courts have better access to evidence of family violence and abuse; and
- making it easier for state and territory child protection authorities to participate in family law proceedings where appropriate.
“The proposed legislative changes will not undermine the effectiveness of the Family Law Act in promoting a child’s right to a meaningful relationship with both parents where there are no safety concerns,” Mr McClelland said.
The changes complement a range of other measures implemented by the Gillard Government to strengthen the family law system’s response to family violence and child abuse.
Information about the public consultation process, how to make submissions and a copy of the draft Bill, is available on the Attorney General’s Department’s website at: www.ag.gov.au/familyviolencebill.
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