18.1 A central theme of this Inquiry is ‘seamlessness’—the idea that, from the perspective of people affected by family violence—legal frameworks relating to family violence should work together to ensure that people are safe. One aspect of a seamless legal framework is the degree to which evidence of family violence given in one court can be considered in another court.

18.2 This chapter considers two interrelated issues: the factors that may inhibit victims from disclosing family violence; and difficulties associated with giving evidence about family violence, particularly when that evidence needs to be considered or repeated in different courts. The Commissions consider how a common definition of family violence and a common risk assessment framework can assist courts to identify and respond to issues of family violence that arise in cases before them. The Commissions also make recommendations to facilitate the use of evidence given in protection order proceedings in concurrent or pending family law proceedings.

18.3 Finally, this chapter considers a number of outcomes of protection order proceedings which have been identified as particularly problematic when parties are also engaged, or likely to be engaged, in parenting proceedings in federal family courts. These problems occur where protection orders are made by consent; and where a victim of family violence agrees to withdraw an application for a protection order and instead relies on undertakings given by the respondent to the court. This section also considers safeguards against vexatious litigation in protection order proceedings.