Further protections for victims of family violence
The Family Law Amendment (Family Violence and Cross examination of Parties) Bill 2018 was given assent on 10 December 2018. It represents a commitment by the government to continue to implement the recommendations of the Council of Australian Governments, including that perpetrators of family violence should not be permitted to directly cross examine their victim. The amendments address community concerns that a perpetrator’s ability to directly cross-examine their victims may constitute a continuation or extension of family violence.
The amendments provide mandatory protections for parties in certain cases. Personal cross-examination is now prohibited where:
The court is required to ensure that appropriate protections are in place for the party who is the alleged victim of the family violence, including:
The amendments are designed to strengthen the Court’s ability to protect victims of family violence and to illicit more reliable evidence to assist in the Court’s ability to make decisions in the best interests of children.
While the amendments were given assent on 10 December 2018, the new procedures come into effect in 6 months, from 10 June 2019.
For more information or discussion, please contact HopgoodGanim Lawyers' Family and Relationship law team.