Family Law Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2017 (CTH): Better Management and Protections Regarding Family and Family Violence

Wednesday 20 December 2017 @ 11.36 a.m. | Crime | Judiciary, Legal Profession & Procedure | Legal Research

On 6 December 2017, the Family Law Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2017 (CTH) ('the Bill') was introduced in the Senate as part of a package to improve the family justice system, alongside the Family Law Amendment (Parenting Management Hearings) Bill 2017 (CTH). For an overview of the second Bill, read TimeBase’s earlier article. The Bill is related to this year's announcement of an overhaul and review of the family law system by the Attorney-General, which has been reported on by TimeBase previously.

Key Amendments

The Bill proposes to amend the Family Law Act 1975 (CTH) in order to provide for the management and resolution of family law matters, and to strengthen the powers of the court sot better protect victims of family violence. Some of the key amendments are:

  • The appellate jurisdiction of the Family Court will be able to be exercised in response to an appeal from a court of summary jurisdiction, or any court that made the decision within the meaning of Section 69G of the Family Law Act 1975 (CTH);
  • Courts will be able to give reasons in short for decisions in relation to interim parenting orders;
  • The Court may make decrees for one party against another if the first party is prosecuting or defending the proceedings or that part of the proceedings, and the court is satisfied that the other party has no reasonable prospect of successfully defending  or prosecuting the proceedings;
  • The court may dismiss any part or all of proceedings if it is satisfied that the proceedings are vexatious, frivolous or an abuse of process.

Further Statements

In a media release issued by the Office of the Attorney-General, it was stated:

“The Family Law Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2017 will reduce the need for vulnerable families to navigate multiple courts to address their legal needs. It will also improve the family law system’s ability to protect victims of family violence and hold perpetrators accountable. This Bill strengthens the ability of state and territory courts to handle family law matters when those families are already before them for related family violence or child protection matters. Those families can then avoid further delays, expense, trauma and risks of violence that can increase when parties have to navigate both state and federal courts.  The Bill will also give police the authority to charge offenders for breaching a personal protection injunction, instead of victims of family violence having to personally bring a civil application in the family court. This sends a strong message to the Australian community: family violence is not a private matter, it is criminal behaviour.”

In his second reading speech, Senator James McGrath highlighted that the Bill is in response to the creation of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022. In addition he also stated that the Bill responds directly to the 2016 report by the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence, an overview of which has been provided by TimeBase previously.

TimeBase is an independent, privately owned Australian legal publisher specialising in the online delivery of accurate, comprehensive and innovative legislation research tools including LawOne and unique Point-in-Time Products. Nothing on this website should be construed as legal advice and does not substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel.


Family Law Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2017 (CTH) and second reading speech, as published on TimeBase LawOne.

[Media release] 'Greater relief for distressed families navigating the family law,' Attorney-General of Australia, 6 December 2017.

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