Are you at risk of family violence?
Unfortunately, statistics are on the rise for family violence in contemporary Australian society, with studies determining that individuals are most at risk at the time of or shortly following separation.
Usually this is as a result of increased stress, financial pressure and uncertainty surrounding the family breakdown. The uncertainty of parenting arrangements yet to be determined and property settlements that are not yet resolved can cause heightened emotions.
Family violence in Australia can take on many forms. Commonly it includes behaviour perpetrated by an individual that is threatening, aggressive or coercive. It can include both physical and mental abuse which causes a person to become fearful of the perpetrator and fearful of their safety.
Family violence can also be directly inflicted on an individual or indirectly impact others who witness or are exposed to such behaviour.
Such allegations, while initially untested, are treated very seriously by the Federal Circuit Court and Family Court of Australia who have a number of specialist pathways to utilise depending on the circumstances, including The Lighthouse Project and The Evatt List. Such allegations are typically thoroughly investigated in a number of ways including:
- Issuing subpoenas to the police, hospitals, GP’s or schools where independent documentary evidence may substantiate the allegations or disclosures that have been made concerning family violence;
- Family Reports by interviewing all members of the family unit, including the parties and children alleged to be involved or experiencing family violence; and/or
- Psychiatric Reports of the alleged perpetrators to ascertain if there are any underlying mental health issues contributing to the prevalence of family violence.
The Court can also implement a number of safety measures to protect parties if they are fearful of coming into contact with the perpetrator of family violence at any stage during the Court proceedings. This involves an individualised safety plan being implemented which can include precautions such as separate entries/exits into the Court etc.
In addition to this, if the matter proceeds to a final hearing or trial the alleged perpetrator is not permitted to cross-examine the victim pursuant to Division 4 of Part XI of the Family Law Act 1975 where there are allegations of family violence and either party has been charged or convicted of a violent offense, a family violence order has been made, an injunction has been made or the Court makes an Order that cross-examination is not appropriate.
Other options available to parties who have experienced family violence can include filing an Application for a Protection Order in the State Magistrates Court. This process is separate and distinct from proceedings in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia.
If you are concerned that you or your family may be at risk of family violence and wish to discuss your options moving forward, please contact the brisbane family lawyers team at James Noble Law today for a free, no-obligation 20-minute consultation. Schedule an appointment with one of our Qualified and experienced Family lawyers Brisbane.
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Tags: Child Abuse, family court of australia, family law act 1975, Family Reports, family violence, family violence in australia, Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia, Federal Circuit Court, mental abuse, parenting matters