5.1 Together with Chapters 6–8, this chapter provides an overview of Commonwealth social security law and examines options for reform of the social security legislative framework to improve the safety of people who have experienced, or are experiencing, family violence.

5.2 This chapter examines the social security frameworks relevant to this Inquiry—the legal framework and the agencies that administer it; the policy framework, including underlying principles; and the relevance of family violence in the social security system. The chapter proposes reforms in the key areas of interpretative frameworks around family violence, screening, and collecting information about family violence.

5.3 In order to enhance the common interpretative framework, the ALRC proposes that the definition of family violence, and its natures, features and dynamics, be included in the Guide to Social Security Law supported by training for relevant Centrelink staff.

5.4 The ALRC also considers that, to ensure fairness in the administration of the social security system and to provide a level of self-agency, greater transparency and consistency is required in relation to the information a person can rely on to support a claim of family violence. The ALRC therefore makes proposals as to the types of information a person may use to support the claim and proposes that guidance as to the weight placed on each type of information should be included in the Guide to Social Security Law. The ALRC also makes proposals to ensure the safety of victims of family violence is protected when Centrelink is seeking information to support a claim of family violence and that this information is protected through Centrelink’s Deny Access Facility.