Attorney-General moves on family law

The Federal Attorney-General, the Hon Robert McClelland, introduced the Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2011 into Parliament today.

This move follows consultation about the amendment, which was supported by 73 per cent of respondents.

‘The Family Violence Bill responds to key reports received by the Government from the Australian Institute of Family Studies, the Honourable Professor Richard Chisholm AM, and the Family Law Council,’ the Attorney-General said.

‘Other reports on family violence, shared care and infant development have helped consolidate the strong evidence base for these reforms.

‘The reports make it clear: more needs to be done to protect and support families within the family law system who have experienced, or are at risk of, abuse or violence.

‘The reports show the Family Law Act as it currently stands imposes barriers to adequately protecting children and other family members from child abuse and family violence. We need changes because the best research shows what we intuitively believe: that exposure to family violence and child abuse leads to poor developmental outcomes for children.’

However, while the proposed changes are an important first step to better protecting the safety of women and children, the advocacy group Women’s Legal Services Australia says further changes are necessary.

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