2K Relationship breakdown and re-partnering
Direct cross-examination in family law matters – Findings from new research
In July, 2017, the Australian Government, Attorney-General’s Department released proposed amendments to the Family Law Act aimed at ensuring “that victims of family violence are not put in a position where they are personally cross-examined by alleged perpetrators, or required themselves to cross-examine their alleged perpetrator” (Media Release, 9 May 2017). The proposed amendments contained in the Family Law Amendment (Family Violence and Cross-examination of Parties) Bill 2018 are currently before Parliament, with the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee due to report on 13 August 2018.
In conjunction with the reintroduction of this bill, the Australian Institute of Family Studies has released new research regarding the prevalence of direct cross-examination involving self-represented litigants in family law proceedings characterised by family violence. This presentation will outline key findings from this research, which was commissioned by the Attorney General’s Department to inform the process of legislative amendments. Insight will be provided into both the extent of direct cross-examination involving self-represented litigants in family law hearings where there is alleged or substantiated family violence, and the factual and legal context characterising these family law matters.