1.1 On 9 July 2010, the Attorney-General of Australia, the Hon Robert McClelland MP, asked the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) to inquire into and report on the treatment of family violence in Commonwealth laws, including child support and family assistance law, immigration law, employment law, social security law and superannuation law and privacy provisions in relation to those experiencing family violence. The ALRC was asked to identify what, if any, improvements could be made to relevant legal frameworks to protect the safety of those experiencing family violence.[1]

1.2 The ALRC was asked to consider legislative arrangements across the Commonwealth that affect those experiencing family violence and whether those arrangements impose barriers to providing effective support to those adversely affected by this type of violence. The ALRC was also asked to consider whether the extent of sharing of information across the Commonwealth and with state and territory agencies is appropriate to protect the safety of those experiencing family violence.

1.3 This chapter summarises the background to the Inquiry, its scope, and the processes of reform leading to this Report and its 102 Recommendations. The ALRC also identifies key issues, such as the under-reporting of family violence, that may reflect barriers to providing effective support.

[1] The full Terms of Reference are set out at the front of this Report and are available on the ALRC website at <>.