FVI e-newsletter – January 2010

This month in summary

With only a short break between Christmas and New Year, the ALRC Family Violence team is now in writing mode, drawing together all the material gathered so far. There are still some initial consultations to do, but for the most part it will be writing, writing, writing, till the end of February to release the Consultation Document in March (after which we will have another consultation round). We are also eagerly awaiting the release of the AIFS evaluation of the shared parenting amendments to the Family Law Act and the Chisholm Report, so that the ALRC work can mesh well and not duplicate this work.

We are seconding some new faces into the team where possible to assist in dealing with the wide range of issues this Inquiry covers. We are also recruiting – more of this below – to get us through to the Report and beyond.

We were particularly pleased, just before Christmas, by the Attorney-General’s announcement of the appointment of Magistrate Anne Goldsbrough as a part-time Commissioner to assist us in the Family Violence Inquiry. Given her key role in relation to practice improvements in relation to family violence matters in Victoria, Magistrate Goldsbrough’s knowledge and experience will be greatly valued and we are sure she will have much to contribute to our thinking and deliberations.

During her terms as Supervising Magistrate for Family Violence and Family Law in the period 2002–2007, Ms Goldsbrough was instrumental in the development and implementation of a range of specialist Family Violence initiatives and practice improvements in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria—including the Family Violence Court Division of the Magistrates’ Court project in Heidelberg and Ballarat, and the Specialist Family Violence services project at three additional magistrates’ courts in Victoria. Ms Goldsbrough facilitated meetings with magistrates during the ALRC’s consultations in Melbourne in late November and it’s great to have her on board in a formal way.

Meanwhile, the list of subscribers to this e-newsletter has been growing. Please encourage all you think might be interested to subscribe. And please keep the comments coming! They are really helpful and provide real coal-face insights for us.

Happy New Year!

Issue in focus — Role of the police

Each FVI e-newsletter highlights an issue in focus, providing an opportunity for you to have input into particular issues as our work progresses.

Q1:   The legislation of most Australian states and territories provides police with special powers in the context of family violence, including powers to: enter premises, search and seize material (including firearms), arrest or detain, and make protection orders. Do any issues arise in relation to the availability and exercise of these powers in practice? Is there any need for legislative or other reform in this area?

Q2.  In some places the police work in multi-disciplinary teams (for example with child protection agencies, refuges, sexual assault services) to investigate or respond to child protection, sexual assault or family violence. Do such approaches improve investigation and service delivery to victims? Are there any difficulties with such teams?

Please respond via the online comment form.

You can still contribute to previous Issues in Focus:

  • Variation and revocation of family violence protection orders
  • Vulnerable witnesses


The ALRC is recruiting legal officers 

The ALRC is seeking to employ one or more Legal Officers—on an initial, fixed term contract of up to one year—to work immediately on its current Family Violence Inquiry and/or other inquires that may be announced in the course of 2010. Further contracts may be offered, depending upon need, at the relevant time.

The Family Violence Inquiry is due to be completed by 31 July 2010. It is likely that the ALRC will receive other Terms of Reference for one or more new inquiries to take place in the second half of 2010.

Please visit the ALRC website for more information about the position and how to apply.