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Guidelines and Action Plans to Address Family Violence Issues


Australian judiciary and support agencies develop some impactful frameworks to ensure the safety of the victims of family violence and provide equal opportunity to access fair justice.

Here is an overview of the three principal strategies to address family violence issues:

National Domestic Violence Order Scheme

On 25th November 2017, National Domestic Violence Order Scheme came into being to protect the victims of family violence across the state borders. This new plan is enforceable across all the states and territories of Australia.

The movement started at NSW, aiming to create a national data pool to ensure the legal orders regarding family violence cases are enforceable interstate. Under this, the domestic violence orders and the database are open to access for the police and the court agencies alike, to protect the victims of the family violence across state borders.

The Scheme covers victims of domestic violence across the entire country.

A very effective measure this plan brings is that the police can take action against the offenders for breaching the court orders, irrespective of where it is initially issued.

Victims of family violence can now breathe a sigh of relief as they are protected in all the states and territories of Australia against the offender. The legal orders against the offender are legally enforceable in all the states. Contrary to the current scenario, the victims had to apply for a new domestic violence protection order in the state they are relocating to, to have legal protection from the offender.

The new scheme removes the barriers of the interstate to ensure legal protection is provided to the victim and the family wherever they relocate to Australia.

The domestic violence victims need to apply to the local court seeking to recognise the legal orders issued in another state. There is no necessity to apply for a fresh legal order.

The offenders will not know that victim has applied for recognition of legal protection in another state unless the victim consents to share the information with the offender. The law intends to facilitate the interstate movement of the domestic violence victims and protect them from their offenders at the same time.

The National Domestic Violence Order Scheme ensues Violence Orders from New Zealand too. The victims moving from NZ to Australia need to apply in the local court for recognition of domestic violence orders issued in New Zealand.

Family Violence Best Practice Principles

The Family Law Act underwent significant changes in 2006, after which the Family Court of Australia established Family Violence Best Practice Principles to assist the individuals and agencies dealing with domestic violence cases.

According to the Family Court of Australia, the Best Practice Principles recognise,

  • the harmful effects of family violence and abuse on victims
  • the prominence given to the issue of family violence in the Family Law Act, and
  • the principles guiding the case management system for the disposition of cases involving allegations of abuse of children.

The Best Practice Principles according to the Family Court of Australia serve as a practical instrument to direct the litigants, legal practitioners, courts, service providers and anyone else who concerned with family violence case.

However, the court also clarifies that by no means this directive must be viewed as a substitute to the evidence in individual cases or binding to the courts hearing family violence case.

The focal point of Best Practice Principles is to protect the children and the family unit from violence and abuse; whether physically, financially, emotionally, psychologically or culturally.

Safety Plan

The courts ensure its litigant’s safety by having a safety plan in place whenever necessary. A safety plan is a document that can be customised to individual case needs, listing available options to ensure the safety of the victim in the court.

A safety plan is necessary when the litigant fears harm while attending the court proceedings. The victim may register the attendance via an electronic medium or through support persons, visit the court by security entrances, or with security personnel, change the hearing venue etc.

Unless otherwise, the court thinks it is required to call the child as a witness in the hearing of family violence cases, the Principles advice the contrary.

Family Violence Plan

It is developed jointly by Federal Circuit Court and Family Court Committee to advise the justice providers on the family violence in the backdrop of family law. The plan intends to identify and manage the threats of family violence at the outset and avert the risk to children and the family members.

The committee oversees the Family Violence Best Practice Principles and reviews it periodically in view to meet the new challenges in family violence scenario in the context of changing social structure in the country.

The FVP is developed by extensive inputs from the internal and external consultation. Institutions like The Australian Human Rights Commission, The Women’s Legal Service, The Family Violence Clearing House, Women’s Service Network, Australian Women Against Violence Alliance, and Director of Queensland Centre for Domestic and Family Violence Research: Heather Nancarrow, advised the joint committee of both the courts on the Plan.

Our family lawyers share the same passion for protecting the children and the family members from domestic violence and assisting the families of Melbourne and suburbs for getting appropriate protection and justice. Reach them HERE.

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