Family violence and Commonwealth laws

In July 2010, following on from its first inquiry into family violence, the ALRC was asked to inquire into the treatment of family violence in Commonwealth laws (other than the Family Law Act 1975), and to identify what improvements could be made to relevant legal frameworks to protect the safety of those experiencing family violence. Specifically, the ALRC was asked to look at child support and family assistance law, immigration law, employment law, social security law and superannuation law and privacy provisions.

The Final Report, Family Violence and Commonwealth Laws—Improving Legal Frameworks (ALRC Report 117), was tabled on 7 February 2012, and launched by the Attorney-General on 8 February 2012.

The information sheets, below, illustrate how recommendations, if implemented by government, might affect various parts of the community:


The net effect of the ALRC’s recommendations will ensure:

  • consistency in understanding and application of the law as a result of the adoption of a common definition of family violence;
  • appropriate education and training for decision makers leading to greater consistency and fairness in decision-making of family violence claims;
  • better identification of, and responses to, the disclosure of family violence, including in service delivery areas;
  • a greater sense of self-agency for those experiencing family violence by being provided information about family violence responses, and being able to act with confidence that such responses will be attentive to their needs; and
  • that ultimately, the safety—physical, economic and financial—of people experiencing family violence will be improved