25 September 2023

Family Courts to house safety experts

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Family Courts around Australia are to become homes to State and Territory child protection and family safety officials in a new initiative under the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children 2010-2022 .

Attorney-General, Christian Porter said the move was part of a three-year, $11 million funding package announced jointly by the Prime Minister, Minister for Women and Minister for Social Services.

Mr Porter said the initiative would better protect the lives of women and children at risk of family violence.

“Many families and children have contact with multiple legal and support services and systems over a period of time,” Mr Porter said.

“Timely exchange of information between the family law courts and State or Territory child welfare agencies is crucial to promoting the safety and welfare of women and children.”

He said the new measure complemented work already being progressed through the Council of Attorneys-General to improve the interaction between the family law, family violence and child protection systems.

“The placement of State officials in the family law courts will increase the timeliness and quality of information shared with the family law courts,” he said.

“It will foster and improve cooperation and understanding between the Federal family law system, and State and Territory and child protection and family violence regimes.”

Mr Porter a national technological solution to facilitate the prompt sharing of targeted information between these systems would also be scoped.

The placement of child protection and family safety officials in the Family Law Courts was recommended by the Family Law Council and suggested in preliminary proposals by the Australian Law Review Commission (ALRC), as part of its comprehensive review of the family law system.

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