2.1 This chapter considers the backdrop of international instruments that affect the range of issues in focus in this Inquiry. This is followed by an analysis of the broad policy themes relevant to the objective, as set out in the Terms of Reference, of protecting the safety of those experience family violence.

2.2 Family violence is an issue that arises for consideration in a diverse number of laws. In Family Violence—A National Legal Response,[1] the ALRC tackled a range of problems that arise in the interactive space between Commonwealth and state and territory laws. In doing so, that inquiry had to navigate the complex federal–state constitutional divide, particularly in relation to family law matters. As the present Inquiry concerns only Commonwealth laws, this particular layer of difficulty does not present itself in the same way. For both inquiries, various international instruments provide a backdrop for a consideration of legal reform responses to family violence issues and safety concerns.

2.3 In Family Violence—A National Legal Response the ALRC identified a number of policy aims to provide the conceptual framework for the recommendations for reform in that Report.[2] They are of continuing relevance as themes in this Inquiry. In addition, there are specific themes that have emerged in relation to the areas under consideration in the present review.

[1] Australian Law Reform Commission and New South Wales Law Reform Commission, Family Violence: A National Legal Response, ALRC Report 114; NSWLRC Report 128 (2010).

[2] Ibid, Ch 3.