e-Newsletter  |  November 2020
Recent event:  Professor JaneMaree Maher webinar -

On Tuesday 20 October a national FLPN audience was given insight into extensive research undertaken by the Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre on "The views of Australian judicial officers on domestic and family violence interventions".  For the purpose of this work, perpetrator interventions have been defined as "systems and service responses to perpetrators of domestic, family and sexual violence from the community sector and within the civil, criminal, child protection and family law systems" (ANROWS, 2019).

The project had three key components:
  • a review of mentions of perpetrator interventions in sentencing remarks in intimate partner homicide cases;
  • interviews with judicial officers and other relevant stakeholders; and
  • documentary and policy analysis, including a review of national and international best practice for perpetrator interventions.
What was observed from the research is that there is a great variance in terms of the application and knowledge of perpetrator intervention programs amongst judicial officers across the country and across jurisdictions and, overall, the scope and extent of the role of judicial officers in holding perpetrators to account in this context remains unclear.  The general absence of feedback loops, where intervention programs have been court-ordered, was also highlighted.

Professor Maher's presentation remains available for viewing via this link and we commend it to any members who have not yet viewed it.  
Upcoming event -

On Thursday 12 November (at 12 noon-1.30 pm local Queensland time) the national Family Law Pathways Networks will host a short film and webinar discussion, coinciding with NAIDOC Week - "Restoring our Family Structures".

In this webinar you will:

  • Hear from survivors of the Kinchela Aboriginal Boys Training Home (KBH), Uncle Roger Jarred, Uncle Bobby Young and Uncle James Welsh.
  • View 'The Kinchela Boys', a short animated film that was co-written, animated and produced by KBH survivors who tell of their experiences at the KBH and about their lives since.
  • A live Q & A with Uncle James Welsh, KBH Kin Connect Team Leader, Lesley Franks, whose father attended KBH. 

Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation (KBHAC) was established in 2003 by Stolen Generation survivors of KBH, an institution on the Mid North Cost of NSW that was run by the NSW Government for over 50 years to house Aboriginal boys forcibly removed from their families. KBHAC supports KBH survivors who live across NSW and interstate, as well as their descendants and immediate families who live throughout Australia. .

For further information and to book, click here . 

ANROWS webinar -

'Accurately identifying the person most in need of protection' - Wednesday 25 November

He was all calm and collected by the time they got there; I was the one that was going off smashing everything and all the rest of it and that’s why I had the orders put on me because that’s what they walked into, but I had marks all over me … [but] they came into me being the one that was screaming and me—yeah.” (Woman, focus group participant)

The 2017 Annual report of the Queensland Domestic and Family Violence Death Review and Advisory Board found that a high proportion of female victims, and nearly all Aboriginal victims, of domestic and family violence (DFV)-related deaths had been recorded by police as a perpetrator of DFV on at least one occasion. The Advisory Board specifically recommended research on how to best identify and respond to the “person most in need of protection” (Recommendation 16). Recognising the national significance of misidentification of victims as perpetrators of DFV, ANROWS conducted the research reported in ‘Accurately identifying “the person most in need of protection” in domestic and family violence law’.

The research report focuses on the gap between the intent of the law and its application, factors that contribute to women being misidentified as perpetrators of DFV, and areas for improvement through procedural guidance and professional development for police and courts.

These themes will be addressed in a panel discussion facilitated by Ms Sam Mostyn, Chair of the ANROWS Board with:
  • Dr Heather Nancarrow, CEO ANROWS & lead author of the report 
  • His Honour Terry Ryan, State Coroner and Chair, Queensland Domestic and Family Violence Death Review and Advisory Board 
  • Inspector Ben Martain, Manager, State Domestic, Family Violence and Vulnerable Persons Unit, Queensland Police Service
The panel discussion will be followed by a live Q&A.

This webinar is designed for: Policymakers, systems-wide practice design decision makers, and practitioners working in police, courts, justice and domestic and family violence services.

For further details and to book click here .
Service updates -

In the Courts:  New family violence and notice of risk form

The safety of children and families is the highest priority of the Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia (the Courts). For the first time in 20 years, the two Courts have been able to achieve the creation and implementation of one harmonised form to be used across both courts to identify issues of risk.

The new harmonised form, the Notice of child abuse, family violence or risk, commenced operation on 31 October 2020.

See media release here .

Federal Circuit Court of Australia - Christmas Closure

The Brisbane registry and the National Enquiry Centre will be open throughout the Christmas period with the exception of the following days:
  • Friday 25 December 2020
  • Monday 28 December 2020
  • Friday 1 January 2021

Two new services for Women's Legal Service Qld (WLSQ)

The new Financial Abuse Prevention Unit (FAPU) empowers women to exit (or not return to) an abusive relationship when they learn they can have a financially affordable future, independent of their partner. The unit has a Consumer Credit Law solicitor (with a family law background) and a Financial Counsellor (with a background in DV services). Financial abuse is also called economic abuse and is often experienced at the same time as DFV. The unit advocates on behalf of clients regarding financial hardship agreements, waivers, pay day loan debts, credit card debts and mortgage arrears. Advice can also be given in relation to personal bankruptcy, Part IX Debt agreements and loans generally.

Domestic Violence Respondent Casework Solicitor - The DV Respondent casework solicitor assists vulnerable women who are victims of domestic violence but that find themselves as a respondent to a DV application. This service has been established primarily in response to the large number of culturally and linguistically diverse women who are faced with defending themselves against police applications for protection orders, despite themselves being the victim and the person most in need of protection. These women are often not able to obtain a grant of aid to defend the case and would otherwise have to face the court alone. Referrals - women are allocated to these services via internal referral only.

Contact the WLSQ Helpline 1800 WLS WLS (1800 957 957).

New Family Law National Arbitration List proving to be a timely and cost effective way of resolving property disputes

A dedicated National Arbitration List (NAL) commenced in the Family Court of Australia in June and is proving to be a successful way of resolving family law property disputes. It has provided families with a cost-effective and timely alternative to the traditional path of litigation. This is one of a number of initiatives introduced to reduce the backlog of pending cases in the Courts. As an alternative to a court trial, parties can appoint their own accredited arbitrator and they can set their own timetable. This enables families to extricate themselves from the anxiety of waiting for a judge to become available to hear their case.

See the full media release here .

Steering Committee update -

New member

The Sunshine Coast FLPN Steering Committee recently welcomed Angela Kerslake to her first meeting, joining Kristy Asquith (ATSILS), Adam Beck (Centacare), Jason Bigalla (UnitingCare), Christine Jones (SPJ Law), Alexandra Kupka (Suncoast Community Legal Service), Karl Manning (Manning Consultants), Britt Sherwell/Lisa Harrison (Act for Kids/Family and Child Connect) and Valerie Holden/John Wright (Relationships Australia) as your local Steering Committee members.  

Angela is an officer from the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women and was earlier this year appointed to a new co-location project with the Family Courts.  As a part of her role as a Principal Child Protection Practitioner Angela welcomes opportunities to connect with a broad range of Family Court stakeholders and be available to offer any assistance as a representative of Child Safety. 

The Steering Committee is currently reviewing our annual Work Plan, and particularly how it sits beside latest COVID-19 developments, and is planning new opportunities for connection, collaboration and innovation between different professionals across the sector.  Details to follow soon.
Safer Family Law System Bill and Petition

Many of our members have viewed our recent FLPN webinar with Angela Lynch AM, CEO of the WLSQ. In that webinar, Angela spoke extensively about the Family Law Amendment (A Step Towards a Safer Family Law System) Bill introduced into Federal Parliament in June by Mr Graham Perrett MP, calling for the removal of the presumption of equal shared parenting responsibility from the Family Law Act.

Women’s Legal Service Qld (WLSQ) has created an online petition calling for same. Angela Lynch, WLSQ CEO said:“The presumption of equal shared parental responsibility in family law shifts the focus of decision-makers away from child safety and the best interests of children.”

Click here to sign the petition.
In the News -

Family courts at breaking point: Chief Justice - The Australian (subscriber only content), 3 November
Workplaces can play a big role in helping domestic violence victims - The Sydney Morning Herald, 26 October
'Incredibly shocking': Younger men failing to recognise domestic violence - The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 October
1 in 3 young men don’t consider punching a form of domestic abuse, according to new, White Ribbon research - Women's Agenda, 25 October
Your visa or your life: a quandary no domestic violence victim should face - The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 October
Family’s long wait for judge to rule - The Australian (subscriber only content), 23 October
Parliament urged to reject family courts merger 'once and for all' - The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 October
Family law shake up ‘misrepresented’ - The Australian (subscriber only content), 21 October
Law should curb coercive behaviour that leads to domestic violence - The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 October
Abusers in the ranks | Police in Australia are failing to act against domestic violence - ABC News, 19 October
Coercive control is a form of intimate terrorism and must be criminalised - The Guardian, 6 October

Attorney-General Media Releases -

Statement on the passing of Judge Guy Andrew - 8 October
Supporting the justice system during the COVID-19 pandemic - 6 October

New Members - 

A reminder that the Family Law Pathways Network Sunshine Coast warmly welcomes new Members.  Membership is FREE to join: encourage interested colleagues to simply email their details to the FLPN Co-ordinator via this link.
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