3.1 The Terms of Reference require the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) to consider what, if any, improvements can be made to relevant legal frameworks to protect the safety of those experiencing family violence. The definitions, and understanding, of family violence are key starting points in this respect.

3.2 This chapter focuses on the definition of family violence in the legislative areas identified in the Terms of Reference: employment, superannuation, migration, child support, family assistance and social security. As a key aspect of establishing a common interpretative framework the ALRC proposes including in those laws the same core definition of family violence that describes the context in which behaviour takes place, as well as a shared common understanding of the types of conduct—both physical and non-physical—that may fall within the definition of family violence. The ALRC considers that systemic benefits would flow from the adoption of a common interpretative framework across different legislative schemes, promoting seamlessness and effectiveness in proceedings involving family violence for both victims and decision makers.