12.1 This chapter addresses two key issues in the child support context: improving the safety of family violence victims within the child support scheme; and the child support eligibility of informal carers—in particular, where they care for children who have experienced family violence (including abuse) in their parents’ or legal guardians’ home.
12.2 The recommended reforms in this chapter are presented in two sets. The first set focuses on appropriate management by the Child Support Agency (CSA) of child support cases involving customers with family violence-related safety concerns. The recommended reforms relate primarily to providing referrals to, and consulting with, customers who have disclosed family violence at certain key points (intervention points) in a child support case. Intervention points for screening, ‘risk identification’, or other methods of identifying safety concerns, are also considered. These recommendations complement those in Chapter 4 regarding identification of safety concerns and information sharing.
12.3 The second set of reforms aims to remove legislative barriers to child support faced by informal carers (often grandparents), especially where children are in informal care as a result of family violence. The ALRC recommends that the Australian Government consider repealing the limitation on informal carers’ child support eligibility. If the limitation is not repealed, the ALRC recommends that the Australian Government should broaden the eligibility criteria for child support in cases where informal carers are caring for children who have experienced family violence in their parents’ or guardians’ home.