Safety First in Family Law

Our Family Law system is in crisis. Every day women are left traumatised and children are left in the hands of abusive parents as the family law system struggles to recognise and respond to risk. 

  • There are no domestic violence specialists based in the Federal Circuit Court or Family Court registries that can identify and manage risk to children at an early stage in a case.
  • There are no support services based at the Federal Circuit Court or Family Court that can link families in with drug and alcohol programs, child and youth support programs and domestic violence and housing services.
  • Women and children from communities that are at the highest risk of domestic violence are the least likely to be able to access the family law system. This includes women and children from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities.
  • Domestic violence victims are being directly cross-examined by or at risk of direct cross-examination by the perpetrator of the violence in family courts.
  • Over 30% of parties in the Family Court are unrepresented. The most disadvantaged Australians struggle to access assistance in family law cases from community legal centres and legal aid commissions due to limited Federal funding.
  • There is limited understanding of domestic violence, trauma and cultural issues amongst family law professionals. Family law professionals include family consultants (expert witnesses), independent children’s lawyers, family lawyers and judges.
  • It is difficult to access safe and legally assisted mediation, forcing parties to engage in protracted court battles.

ACLW has joined Women’s Legal Services Australia (WLSA), Rosie Batty and the Never Alone campaign and over 90 organisations to call on the leaders of all major political parties to put Safety First in Family Law.

An open letter has been sent to the Prime Minister, Opposition Leader and Leader of the Greens calling for real action to address the crisis in family law. 

Can you make sure that all our political leaders commit to the five step plan? 

  • Stand with Rosie and the Never Alone campaign by signing the petition to fix family law. 
  • Write to the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Greens asking them to put safety of women and children first in family law by adopting the five step plan in the lead up to the 2016 election. 
  • Share the campaign on social media and get your friends and networks involved. 

Read more about the campaign at 


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