7.1 There are two levels of establishing a common interpretative framework to address family violence in state and territory family violence legislation and the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth). One level sets up a shared understanding across family violence legislation and the Family Law Act of what constitutes family violence—as discussed in Chapter 5 and 6—as well as a shared understanding of the nature, features, and dynamics of family violence across these schemes. The other level—and the principal focus of this chapter—is to foster a common interpretative framework across state and territory family violence legislation through the enactment of provisions which complements consistent definitions of family violence. These provisions are those which address: guiding principles containing express reference to a human rights framework, features of family violence, purposes of family violence legislation and grounds for a protection order.
7.2 This two-pronged approach in establishing a common interpretative framework is likely to lead to considerable systemic benefits and improved outcomes for victims of family violence, including those who are involved in multiple sets of proceedings under family violence legislation and the Family Law Act 1975.It may also benefit judicial officers, with improved ease and effectiveness of decision making and interpretation of laws.
7.3 This chapter also addresses equality of treatment for victims of family violence across jurisdictions in relation to the practical application of family violence legislation, including grounds for obtaining protection orders, and persons eligible for protection orders. While equality of treatment is important in itself, fostering consistency regarding the circumstances in which persons are covered by family violence legislation also complements a common understanding of family violence.