Protection of children from family violence

Protection orders under family violence legislation can name children or young people as an aggrieved family member, and in some jurisdictions, applications for a protection order can be brought by, or on behalf of, a child or young person. However, in NSW, the Children’s Court is only able to make a protection order in its criminal jurisdiction against a child or young person, in order to protect other children or adults. It has no power to make a protection order against an adult. It also lacks power in its care jurisdiction to make an order against a parent or other adult to protect a child or young person, pending final care and protection orders.

There is no question that a child who is exposed to family violence may be at risk of serious physical or psychological harm. Allowing a children’s court to make a protection order in favour of a child, when the child or young person is already subject to care proceedings before the court, and final care orders are pending, gives the court another tool to protect children from harm. It is also consistent with the broad goal of this Inquiry of providing a more seamless system for victims of family violence, including children. The Commissions are interested to hear views on this issue.

Question 13–11 In care proceedings under child protection legislation, where final orders are pending, should children’s courts in all states and territories be given power to make protection orders in favour of the child who is the subject of proceedings before it, where the court considers a protection order necessary to protect the child from serious harm arising from the child’s exposure to family violence?

Question 13–12 Should a children’s court be able to make protection orders in favour of siblings of the child who is the subject of care proceedings before it? If so, should it be able to make such an order of its own motion or should it be by application by a party to the proceedings or an advocate for the child?