e-Newsletter  |  December 2020
Recent event -

'Restoring our Family Structures- short film & webinar discussion with the Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation

After a false start during NAIDOC Week, due to technical issues beyond our control, the short film and webinar discussion with survivors of the Kinchela Aboriginal Boys Training Home (KBH) was screened on Monday this week.  It was a raw and powerful presentation from members of the Stolen Generation and as FLPN host Wendy Murray stated, we hope that it is a starting point for further discussion, learning and healing, not only for the survivors of the Home, but for all of us who wish to see that the atrocities the boys were exposed to are not forgotten and are not ever repeated.  We thank the participants, and particularly Uncle Michael James ‘Widdy’ Welsh, for sharing their deeply personal stories with our audience - with heart, bravery and a determination to finally reclaim their lives.

Please note, if you registered for the event your Youtube link allows you the opportunity for catch-up viewing for 14 days from the first screening.
Upcoming events - 

Meet your Sunshine Coast FLPN Steering Committee / Orange Morning Tea

When:  Tuesday 8 December, 10.15 - 11.00 am 

The Sunshine Coast Family Law Pathways Network is hosting a virtual Orange Morning Tea (cuppa 'n conversation), as part of our community's support of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.  This is an annual international campaign that calls for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.  

Meet members of your FLPN Steering Committee, participate in this important conversation at a local level and enjoy your morning tea with us at the same time.

Register Now

Free eSafety session:  'Technology facilitated abuse in domestic and family violence situations'

 When:  Tuesday 8 December at 1.00 pm (local Queensland time)

The South Australia Family Law Pathways Networks has kindly invited our members to join an interactive webinar presented by the e-Safety Commissioner.  This session is particularly relevant to frontline professionals in the domestic and family violence sector.

Register Now
Free webinar:  'Untested Allegations, Sexual Abuse in Family Law Proceedings' 

When:  Thursday 10 December 2020, 12:00 - 1:30 pm (local Queensland time)

The Family Law Pathways Networks across Australia invite you to join the last fixture in our 2020 national webinar series, presented by Vincent Papaleo and Dr Ben Jones.

This session will focus on how to assess and manage family law cases where there are concerns about child sexual abuse. There will be information regarding how to critically examine the allegations, including any disclosures made by the child, as well as ancillary information that may be relevant to determining whether or not abuse may have occurred.

There will also be some discussion about the presentation of parents who are more likely to make erroneous claims of sexual abuse, including parents with a personality disorder.

The session will include case studies, video vignettes, and open discussion. It will be most relevant for legal practitioners that specialise in family law, Independent Children's Lawyers, staff at community agencies that work with families, and single experts/family report writers.
Register Now
Impact of COVID-19 on Domestic and Family Violence Workforce Report -

QUT's Centre for Justice has released a report on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the domestic and family violence (DFV) workforce, based on a nationwide survey. 

One of the most concerning findings was the number of DFV workers reporting new clients seeking their help for the first time during the COVID-19 crisis, and a big increase in the complexity of client needs overall.

Workers were also asked for recommendations about how to bolster the service system.  They emphasised the need for:
  • better technology and technology support for workers, technology checks for clients;
  • better internet connectivity;
  • more government funding for crisis supplies and emergency and long-term accommodation and safe and affordable housing;
  • transport for home delivery of services;
  • the continuation of tele-health provisions;
  • more resources for male perpetrator programs (especially for Indigenous men).
They also need systems to be flexible, especially justice agencies, and they called for enhanced policing and better communication and translation services and supports for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities.
Local service update -

Lifeline's FREE Multicultural 2 Day Domestic Violence Response Training (Accredited)

This course is a great training opportunity as it is specifically tailored to equip frontline staff with the appropriate skills to identify and support those impacted by domestic and family violence from culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
To give you some further insight into the impact that domestic and family violence has on individuals and families, along with a brief overview of the course by one of the DV Alert trainers, please click on a YouTube link here .
The course is being held at Alexandra Park Conference Centre, 13 Mari Street, Alexandra Headlands on 9 – 10 December 2020.

For more information and to book, click here .
Proposed Merger of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and the Family Court of Australia -

On 5 December 2019, the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2019 was introduced to Parliament.

The purpose of the Bill, as detailed in the Explanatory Memorandum is: 
To bring together the Family Court of Australia (the Family Court) and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia (the Federal Circuit Court) together to be known as the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFC). The FCFC would comprise two ‘divisions’. The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1) (FCFC (Division 1)) would be a continuation of the Family Court. The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) (FCFC (Division 2)) would be a continuation of the Federal Circuit Court.

This structural reform of the federal courts is intended to:
  • create a consistent pathway for Australian families in having their family law disputes dealt with in the federal courts;
  • improve the efficiency of the federal court system, and
  • ensure outcomes for Australian families are resolved in the most timely, informed and cost effective manner possible.
The Bill was referred to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee for inquiry and report.  In it's report, the Committee recommends that the Senate pass the bill.

To view the full report click here .

To view all the submissions made by various organisations click here .
Recent legislative amendments - 

Repeal of lending protections may hurt women facing domestic violence

On 25 September 2020, the Australian Government announced a suite of changes to Australia’s consumer credit framework contained in the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 aimed at reducing the time it takes for individuals and small business to access credit while maintaining strong protections for vulnerable consumers. 

However several DFV advocacy groups have voiced concerns that this will make it easier for perpetrators to get loans under victim’s names and/or it will be easier for perpetrators to coerce victims in doing this as there will less check and balances in place.

The Criminal Code (Consent and Mistake of Fact) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020
On 26 November 2020, Hon Shannon Fentiman MP, Queensland's Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, reintroduced the Criminal Code (Consent and Mistake of Fact) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 (the Bill) into the 57th Parliament. The committee is required to report to the Legislative Assembly on the Bill by 12 February 2021.  The new Bill was introduced without amendment.
Read more here .
In the News -

Queensland Budget:  $150 million for violence prevention - The Courier-Mail, 2 December
"More than $150m will be spent on women and violence prevention, including $48.5m to respond to domestic and family violence.  This will include counselling and crisis responses, court-based support for victims and perpetrators, and Aboriginal and Torrest Strait Islander support.  The state government will also spend $34.3m on women's shelters.  A further $11.8m has been allocated for specialist sexual violence services and another $8.4m will be spent on women's health and wellbeing services.  Meanwhile, $8.6m will be spent over four years on implementing the recommendations of the Criminal Justice report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.  To support the government's Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence policy $2.25m out of a $6.87m budget will be spent during 2020-21.  This will include inspections of licensed venues during busy trading times in Safe Night Precincts and treatment programs for people who have been convicted of alcohol or drug-related violence."

Court merger will be catastrophic for women and children - The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 December
'The worst year':  domestic violence soars in Australia during COVID-19 - The Guardian, 1 December
Property spruiker allegedly told students to use Family Court to pintpoint targets - The Sydney Morning Herald, 28 November
Senate Committee back Family Court merger as Labor, Greens dissent - The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 November 
A decades-long crisis:  the battle to fix Australia's 'broken' family law system - The Guardian, 14 November
Government must act to improve family law system - The Age, 7 November

Attorney-General Media Releases -
Senate Inquiry endorses Family Court reform Bills - 20 November
Appointments to the Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court - 13 November

Seasons Greetings -

We extend best wishes to all our Network Members for a safe and enjoyable Christmas and holiday season. 
We look forward to connecting with you again in 2021.
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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