The recent Australian Law Reform Commission’s (the ALRC) Inquiry into the Family Law system focused on finding the best way to resolve disputes following the breakdown of intimate relationships.
One key issue explored by the ALRC was the issue of safety in the family law system. My colleague Ashleigh John looked at another of the ALRC’s recommendations regarding safety in her recent article “It’s time to share”.
As it stands today, the family law system requires parties to navigate multiple courts across jurisdictions. The ALRC acknowledged that the current system fails to meet the needs of children and families across the jurisdictions of family law, child protection and family violence.
The third of the sixty recommendations made by the ALRC was that the Australian Government should consider expanding information sharing as part of the National Domestic Violence Order Scheme to include Family Court Orders and Orders made under state and territory child protection legislation.
The current National Domestic Violence Order Scheme requires that local police enforce the conditions of any Domestic Violence Order (DVO) that is issued by a Court of any of the States or Territories right across Australia – for example, it no longer matters if the DVO was made in WA as it can be enforced in Victoria.
The intent of this recommendation by the ALRC seems to be that the Family Courts should better interact with the State and Territory agencies responsible for DVOs to ensure that information flows between the agencies and the Court.
The recommendation is supported by the family law team at Mullane & Lindsay.