The Federal government has commissioned the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) to undertake the first comprehensive review of the family law system since the commencement of the Family Law Act in 1975.
The ALRC has released an issues paper as part of its review of the family law system. The issues paper provides discussion of issues identified in the terms of reference, including:
- early and cost effective resolution of family law disputes
- protection of the best interests of children and their safety
- the best ways to inform decision-makers about the best interests of children and their views
- family violence and child abuse
- law in relation to parenting and property division after separation
The ALRC are calling on public comments or submissions in response to questions and analysis raised in the Issues paper. Submissions close 7th May 2018.
We are aware that service users of Desert Blue Connect have been significantly impacted by the current family law system, with both positive and negative impacts. We invite services users of Desert Blue Connect to provide their own comment or submission directly to the ALRC or they can respond to our service and we will provide a generic submission on behalf of our organisation.
The Issues paper has a set of 47 questions, with 13 that are directly relevant to family violence. However, service users are welcome to respond to any of the questions due to the intersection between family violence, child protection and family law.
The 13 family violence relevant questions are below:
Question 3 In what ways could access to information about family law and family law related services, including family violence services, be improved?
Question 4 How might people with family law related needs be assisted to navigate the family law system?
Question 5 How can the accessibility of the family law system be improved for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people?
Question 6 How can the accessibility of the family law system be improved for people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities?
Question 7 How can the accessibility of the family law system be improved for people with disability?
Question 8 How can the accessibility of the family law system be improved for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) people?
Question 9 How can the accessibility of the family law system be improved for people living in rural, regional and remote areas of Australia?
Question 12 What other changes are needed to support people who do not have legal representation to resolve their family law problems?
Question 15 What changes could be made to the definition of family violence, or other provisions regarding family violence, in the Family Law Act to better support decision making about the safety of children and their families?
Question 29 Is there scope for problem solving decision-making processes to be developed within the family law system to help manage risk to children in families with complex needs? How could this be done?
Question 31 How can integrated services approaches be better used to assist client families with complex needs? How can these approaches be better supported?
Question 32 What changes should be made to reduce the need for families to engage with more than one court to address safety concerns for children?
Question 33 How can collaboration and information sharing between the family courts and state and territory child protection and family violence systems be improved?
Further information and the Issues paper are available at https://www.alrc.gov.au/publications/family-law-system-ip
For further information please contact Daphne White at Desert Blue Connect on 9964 2742 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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