Family courts and their relationship with child protection agencies

19.53 Proceedings may commence in the family courts, and allegations of family violence, including abuse of a child, or neglect of a child, may be made in those proceedings. While most family law disputes are resolved by negotiation or family dispute resolution (FDR), a significant number of those cases that go on to be tried in the family courts raise child protection concerns.[74] However, whilst children’s courts rely on state child protection agencies to investigate allegations of child abuse and neglect, family courts do not have a mechanism to investigate allegations of child abuse. They rely upon the parties, independent children’s lawyers, family consultants and state child protection agencies to provide them with information to make a decision about children who are at risk. The relationship between family courts and state agencies in this regard has not always been mutually satisfying. Further, it has sometimes appeared to a judicial officer in a family court that the only available option for a child is to give parental rights to a state child protection agency, although there is no clear statutory power to do so.[75]

19.54 In this section, the legal relationship between family courts and child protection agencies will be considered, followed by a summary of the challenges of working together and an identification of some of the gaps in the system and proposals for closing them.

The legal relationship

19.55 Family courts have obligations—discussed below—to inform child protection agencies about allegations of child abuse made in the context of family law proceedings. For evidence about that abuse and its impact on the children, they rely on a number of sources. One source is obviously the parties, but they are often engaged in allegations and counter-allegations or denials about violence. Information from independent sources, such as child protection agencies, independent children’s lawyers, and family consultants is of particular importance.

19.56 A child protection agency may already have relevant information on its own file, such as reports, risk assessments or expert reports. In other cases the agency may only have a record of notification of suspected abuse, but no other information. For example, it may have taken no action in relation to that notification because the notification does not reveal abuse at a level to justify the allocation of resources for a response. In other cases the issue of abuse may be raised for the first time in a family court so that the child protection agency has no record of the child.

19.57 The legal relationship between child protection agencies and family courts is provided for in the Family Law Act, which contains two provisions obliging family courts to notify child protection agencies of child abuse in certain circumstances. First, s 67Z provides that if a ‘Notice of Child Abuse or Family Violence’ (Form 4) is filed, the Registry Manager of the court must ‘as soon as practicable, notify a prescribed child welfare authority’.[76] Secondly, under s 67ZA(2) where an officer or professional in a family court has reasonable grounds for suspecting that a child has been abused, or is at risk of being abused, the person must, as soon as practicable, notify a prescribed child welfare authority of his or her suspicion and the basis for the suspicion.[77] Section 67ZA(3) provides that a person may—rather than must—notify the relevant child protection agency where the person has reasonable grounds for suspecting that a child has been ill treated, or is at risk of being ill treated; or has been exposed, or subjected, or is at risk of being exposed or subjected, to behaviour which psychologically harms the child.[78] The Chisholm Review suggested that, while notifications by the court are mandatory under s 67Z, the effect of a notice under that section appears to have less weight than notifications by professionals under s 67ZA of the Family Law Act when it comes to a child protection agency deciding whether to investigate an allegation.[79]

19.58 There are provisions in the Family Law Act that allow family courts to obtain information from child protection agencies. A family court can make an order under s 69ZW in child-related proceedings requiring a prescribed state or territory agency to provide the court with documents or information, including notifications of suspected abuse, assessments and reports. Family courts can also acquire documents by issuing subpoenas under pt 15.3 of the Family Law Rules. For further discussion about these information-sharing provisions, see Chapter 30.

19.59 The Family Law Act also contains provisions concerning parties who intervene in proceedings. Section 92 sets out the general rule that, apart from proceedings for divorce or validity of marriage, ‘any person may apply for leave to intervene’.[80] Sections 91B and 92A specifically address intervention where child maltreatment concerns arise. By virtue of s 92A, a prescribed welfare authority is entitled to intervene in proceedings where it is alleged that a child has been abused or is at risk of being abused. Section 91B enables a family court to request intervention by a child protection officer in a matter involving a child’s welfare. An officer who agrees to intervene is deemed to be a party to the proceedings. An officer may also decline to intervene.[81] The combined effect of these provisions is that a child protection agency is entitled to intervene where child abuse, or a risk of it, is alleged; may request to intervene; or be requested to intervene. In all cases, once a child protection agency intervenes, it is, ‘unless the court otherwise orders, to be taken to be a party to the proceedings with all the rights, duties and liabilities of a party’.[82] This includes potential liability for costs orders.

19.60 There is no express power in the Family Law Act for the courts to compel a child protection agency to intervene. However, in Ray v Males,[83] Benjamin J concluded that the court can allocate parental responsibility to a child protection agency even if that agency does not consent, and where it proposes to do so, it has the power to join the agency as a party to the proceedings.

19.61 In that case allegations of abuse were made in relation to two children. Benjamin J was concerned that no parent or other person would be found to be a viable parent for one or both of the children. The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Tasmania, had been invited—under s 91B—to join the proceedings, but had declined to intervene. Further, the Department did not consent to accept parental responsibility in relation to the children. Benjamin J considered whether or not he had the power to join the Secretary and whether or not he had the power to make parenting or other orders that would bind the Secretary. He found that it was within the scope of his powers to join a party and that he had the power to make an order imposing parental responsibility on the Secretary when, in his view, there were no other alternatives.

19.62 This decision has been appealed to the Full Court of the Family Court and, at the time of writing, judgment is reserved. If the first instance decision in this case is upheld on appeal, it may be that family courts will, in future, join child protection agencies in cases where they are concerned that there will be no viable parent and they wish to allocate parental rights to the child protection agency.

The challenges of working together

19.63 There are a number of concerns about the operation in practice of the provisions outlined above. Family courts may not be satisfied with the response of child protection agencies to notifications of child abuse by the courts or invitations to participate as witnesses or parties in family law proceedings. For example, in 2009 in Denny & Purdy, Burr J commented that requests for information or for the relevant department to intervene were frequently met with refusal.[84] In Ray v Males,[85] noted above, a request was made by a family court under s 91B for the child protection agency to intervene, but the agency decided that it did not wish to do so, despite the concern of the judge that there may be no viable parent.

19.64 To ameliorate these problems, family courts, child protection agencies and other agencies have developed agreed, coordinated responses to child protection cases that seek to ensure the court has the evidence it needs to make decisions. For example, the ‘Magellan’ case management program applies to serious cases of child abuse in the Family Court of Australia. It relies on non-statutory regulation, such as case management rules and memorandums of understanding (MOU), which create agreed ways of collaborating in serious child abuse cases. Formal and informal agreements about information sharing may also result in arrangements between courts and child protection agencies, designed to ensure that courts have evidence they need from child protection agencies. These information sharing issues are discussed further in Chapter 30.

19.65 Despite such initiatives, it appears that some problems remain. Important to an understanding of these problems are the different cultural and legislative frameworks within which family courts and child protection agencies work, and which drive different responses to child abuse.

19.66 These differences were the subject of comment in the Wood Inquiry into child protection services in NSW.[86] Whilst a family court might notify the relevant child protection agency of allegations of child abuse and anticipate that the agency will investigate and be prepared to provide information and evidence for the court, there are a number of valid reasons why that agency may not take the steps the court desires.

19.67 First, the report may not be judged sufficiently serious to justify intervention. Under the Family Law Act, the threshold for making a notification is a suspicion, based on reasonable grounds, that the child to whom the proceedings relate has been abused or is at risk of being abused.[87] Under child protection legislation, the standard is generally higher—for example, in NSW it is risk of significant harm.[88] There may therefore be different legal and cultural practices and understandings about the appropriate threshold for intervention between family courts and child protection agencies.

19.68 In consultations during this Inquiry, judicial officers and staff in family courts demonstrated a very strong commitment to protecting children in child abuse cases—cases they described as the worst and most difficult cases they deal with. Consultations with child protection agencies, children’s courts and practitioners experienced in both jurisdictions provided a different perspective in which family court cases are not the most difficult cases. There is often some capacity to protect the child if appropriate orders are made: there may be a viable carer and/or some resources of money, stability or emotional capacity to parent. The most difficult and most deserving of cases are those in the children’s courts which are brought because the child protection agency believes that the capacity to keep the child safe is not present in the family.

19.69 Cases such as Ray v Males, where there is a concern that there is no viable or protective parent, would appear to be better dealt with, from start to finish, in a children’s court, because it is that court which has the power to allocate parental responsibility to a child protection agency. The responsibility for taking action in a children’s court lies with a child protection agency. The first possible reason why the agency does not intervene and apply to the children’s court is likely to be that there is a difference of perspective between the family court and the child protection agency about the risk to the child and the viability and safety of other options for the child’s care.

19.70 Secondly, a child protection agency may choose not to act because the information provided by the person who notifies the abuse may not disclose sufficient reason to believe the child is at risk of the alleged abuse. For example, while the notifier (often the other parent) may have a belief to that effect, the evidence to support that belief may be insufficient, or a notification may be made without foundation for vexatious purposes.

19.71 Thirdly, the reported concern may relate to events some time in the past, or the child may currently be in a situation where he or she is no longer exposed to the risk disclosed in the report. Child protection legislation generally focuses on current concerns that might justify the involvement of child protection agencies. Thus historic matters, which might be relevant to family law proceedings, may not be sufficient to attract the intervention of the child protection system.

19.72 Fourthly, the child protection agency may decide that the family court is the most appropriate venue. If there is a viable carer and the child is in his or her care, the child is safe from the perspective of the child protection agency. In these circumstances it may be that a child protection agency will prioritise deployment of resources to children who are not safe.

19.73 In consultations the Commissions were also told that child protection authorities may sometimes resist involvement in family courts because, if they were to respond to all requests from the court for information, investigations and participation in family court cases, they would have a flow of work over which they have no control and for which they are not funded. This could divert them from priorities and undermine other work.

19.74 The Commissions were also told that child protection agencies may decline to provide information or to intervene because their involvement with the family has been limited and they have nothing of use on file. Given that NSW Community Services has recently reported that 27% of all children under 18 years were known to the agency,[89] it is hardly surprising that all cases are not exhaustively investigated and that the file in some cases contains very little.

19.75 However, the net effect of these dynamics is that, in some locations at least, family courts expect a response that they do not get from child protection agencies. Family courts need information to assist them in making decisions about children’s safety in cases where there have been allegations of child abuse. They have no investigatory arm through which they can acquire independent evidence. They want the information from child protection agencies, but the agency does not always respond in the way that the court wishes.

19.76 In consultations during this Inquiry it became apparent that the investigatory gap was worse in some locations than in others. Some courts and child protection agencies reported that they had negotiated a relationship that worked well, and meant that family courts had access to child protection information in the possession of state agencies. In other places continuing difficulties were reported. Regional differences were also reported in research by Fiona Kelly and Dr Belinda Fehlberg which showed that difficulties in communication between courts and the child protection agency apparent in Victoria were not present in the ACT.[90] In the ACT, the level of communication between child protection authorities and the court was relatively high, with the child protection agency volunteering information to the court; responding to requests from the court for information; monitoring and supervising cases in response to orders of the Family Court.[91]

Gaps in the system and proposals for closing them

19.77 The first gap between the family courts and the child protection system is what might be called the ‘investigatory gap’—caused by the fact that the family courts have no investigatory arm to provide them with independent investigations in cases where child abuse is raised as an issue. The children who are vulnerable in this gap are those who:

  • are the subject of family law proceedings involving allegations of child abuse;

  • state child protection authorities decide not to assist; or

  • are not included in a program such as the Magellan case management program for cases involving serious child abuse.

19.78 For these children, there are allegations of abuse but there may be no agency to conduct an independent investigation of the allegations and to present evidence to the family courts.

19.79 The second gap in the system, which might be called the ‘jurisdictional gap’, arises where a case involving allegations of child abuse is in the family courts and the court wishes to make an order giving parental responsibility to the child protection agency because the judge considers that there is no other viable option for that child.

19.80 One method of dealing with the investigatory gap has been to use agreements, MOUs and other regulatory practices that regulate how cases involving child protection issues in the family court will be managed. In 1997 the ALRC and HREOC approached concerns about the intersection of child protection and family law in the context of optimism that the problem could largely be solved by a cross-vesting scheme.[92] As noted in Chapter 2, the cross-vesting of state jurisdiction in federal courts failed.[93] However the Commissions also recommended that protocols for inter-agency cooperation between the family courts, child protection agencies and children’s courts should be developed and that referrals to state child protection agencies from the courts should be recorded and tracked.[94]

19.81 The most prominent case management system that relies on agreed methods of working is the Magellan program, concerning serious cases of child abuse in the Family Court of Australia.[95] Magellan has narrowed the gap by providing for agreed ways in which child protection agencies will work with the family courts in child abuse cases. But it has not closed the gap: it does not operate in all regions of Australia or in the Federal Magistrates Court. The expansion of Magellan and other options for collaborative practice are discussed further in Chapter 29.

19.82 A different approach to the investigatory gap was taken in 2002 by the Family Law Council, which recommended that the federal government should establish a federal ‘Child Protection Service’ that would, amongst other things, investigate child protection concerns and provide information arising from such investigations to courts exercising jurisdiction under the Family Law Act.[96] The recommendation would have provided a dedicated risk assessment and investigatory resource for federal family courts, as an alternative to, and in the absence of, information from state and territory child protection agencies. However, this recommendation has not been adopted.

19.83 The jurisdictional gap—that the federal family courts cannot make orders under child protection legislation—has also attracted attention. It has been proposed that the states refer their powers in relation to child protection, so that federal family courts may be given the power to make child protection orders. In 2009 the Family Law Council recommended that:

The Attorney General as a member of SCAG address the referral of powers to federal family courts so that in determining a parenting application federal family courts have concurrent jurisdiction with that of State Courts to deal with all matters in relation to children including where relevant family violence, child protection and parenting orders.[97]

19.84 In Chapter 17 the Commissions discuss the limits on the ‘concurrent jurisdiction’ that can be achieved, within the constraints of the Australian Constitution, namely, that the result of any such referral is to confer on the Australian Parliament power to make federal laws in the areas covered by the referral. It cannot give federal family courts direct jurisdiction under state child protection, or other, legislation—this was the flaw in the cross-vesting scheme, as discussed in Chapter 2.

19.85 A referral of power could cover all child protection matters, enabling the Australian Government to expand the power of federal family courts in respect of child welfare matters so that it mirrors the jurisdiction of children’s court. It could be of a more limited nature, dealing specifically with the problem arising in Ray v Males and referring only the power to make an order in relation to child protection in situations where there is no viable and protective parent or other carer and the judicial officer wishes to make an order in favour of the child protection agency.

19.86 In discussing the jurisdictional gap, the Consultation Paper canvassed the Family Law Council proposal, asking if there is any role for a referral of legislative power to the Commonwealth in relation to child protection matters. If that question was answered in the affirmative, the Commissions asked what should such a referral cover.[98]

Submissions and consultations

Investigatory gap

19.87 Stakeholders expressed strong concern in relation to the first gap, that is, the absence of investigatory resources in family court cases involving allegations of child abuse. Stakeholders argued for the need for an investigatory capacity to be provided to family courts, by greater involvement of child protection agencies in family courts or by other means.

19.88 There was also support for family courts having the power to compel the involvement of child protection agencies in cases where there are child protection concerns, and for family courts having the power to join the child protection agency as a party. The two submissions that referred to the forthcoming decision in the appeal in Ray v Males, supported change to the provisions of the Family Law Act for the family courts to be able to compel the involvement of child protection agencies.[99]

19.89 There was also strong support for child protection agencies to play a much greater role in family court proceedings. This support came from many different perspectives—from individuals, from non-government organisations working with victims of violence, from lawyers and from other professional groups and agencies.[100] The submission of the Australian Association of Social Workers provides an example of a typical response:

The AASW recommends that child protection agencies have a greater role within family law proceedings. The existing provisions of s 91B and s 92A of the Family Law Act need to be re-examined to ensure that they provide the appropriate mechanisms for the involvement of child protection agencies. Reports from child protection agencies where there have been reports of abuse or neglect need to inform decisions made within the family law proceedings to provide the best possible outcome for children.[101]

19.90 A number of submissions drew attention to the resource difficulties faced by child protection agencies. The Department of Human Services (NSW), for example, suggested that it could provide investigatory services to the family courts, but this would need to be on a fee for service basis.[102] The National Abuse Free Contact Campaign and the National Council of Single Mothers and their Children submitted that a specialist section within child protection agencies should be developed to do family court based work and that these sections could be funded federally.[103]

19.91 Stakeholders reported that in locations with a smaller population, informal working relationships develop and communication, collaboration and sharing of resources are more likely. In regions where liaison between the court and the child protection agency was reportedly good, court staff and others in the system attributed this to the existence or building of good relationships between agencies, facilitated by structures and individuals who knew both cultures and systems, could translate between them, and who were trusted by people in both. Having good people in key positions was seen as crucial to making cooperative relationships work well.[104]

Jurisdictional gap

19.92 In relation to the jurisdictional gap, two submissions supported the idea of giving family courts the full range of state and territory child welfare powers.[105] Two other submissions thought that this issue was complex and would need further careful consideration.[106] There was, however, some support for a partial reference of powers to give family courts the ability to exercise child welfare in those limited number of cases, such as Ray and Males, where there is no viable and protective carer available.[107]

Commissions’ views

19.93 The Commissions are disinclined to repeat the recommendation of the Family Law Council that a federal child protection service be established. It received very limited support in consultations and submissions.[108] Moreover, state child protection agencies have existing expertise and infrastructure in child protection matters. They are also the agencies likely to be working with the child and the family if there are continuing concerns about the safety of children after any hearing in a family court. Establishing a federal agency could create another gap in the system, between a federal agency that provides child protection investigatory services for family courts, and the state agency responsible for working with the family in the longer term.

19.94 The Commissions also note that in some locations there does not appear to be an ongoing problem of collaboration between courts and child protection agencies and the relationship appears to be working to the satisfaction of both. Further, the Magellan program was negotiated between the Court and relevant agencies and appears to have worked very successfully and to have saved resources.[109] In the view of the Commissions, it is highly desirable that the provision of child protection investigatory services in matters before the family courts is dealt with by negotiation, collaboration and agreement (see Chapter 29).

19.95 However, the Commissions are also concerned that the problems outlined above have been identified for many years, that recommendations to deal with them have been made in numerous ways and that, in some locations at least, no solution has been found. The Commissions note the strength of support from stakeholders that this issue be dealt with effectively. In the interests of the children concerned, these problems should not be allowed to persist.

19.96 The Commissions are of the view that investigatory services in family court cases should be provided by state child protection agencies. Further, there is strength in the proposal of the National Abuse Free Contact Campaign and the National Council of Single Mothers and their Children that there should be a specialist section in state child protection agencies to undertake this work. This arrangement would have several advantages including:

  • drawing on existing child protection expertise;

  • providing a dedicated service responsive to the particular needs of family courts;

  • developing expertise within child protection agencies in the needs of family courts;

  • providing a resource of people familiar with both systems who can ‘translate’ between the systems and educate participants in both systems; and

  • providing a service that is not in competition with resources that need to be devoted to state child protection matters.

19.97 The funding of this service should be negotiated by federal, state and territory governments. Its scope and costs will doubtless vary according to local conditions and existing agreements and practices in relation to these cases. It will be difficult to determine how funding should be divided between state and federal work, but the difficulty of the task does not remove the pressing need to do it. This Inquiry has provided further evidence, if it were needed, of the persistent problems and confirms the need for action to be taken to rectify the situation.

19.98 In relation to the jurisdictional gap, given the responses from stakeholders, the Commissions are disinclined to recommend a general reference of child welfare powers to family courts. However, a limited reference of powers to enable the courts to make orders giving parental rights and duties to a child protection agency where there is no other viable and protective carer for a child is supported. A power to join a state child protection agency in this very limited class of cases is also recommended.

19.99 Despite support from submissions, the Commissions are presently disinclined to recommend that federal family courts should have a general power to join a state child protection agency as a party. Many of the supportive submissions responded to the general question of whether federal family courts should have additional powers to ensure that intervention by the child protection system occurs when necessary in the interest of the safety of children. Thus the responses to this question seemed to reflect a more general concern that child protection agencies should play a greater role in family court cases, without necessarily exploring the consequences of compelling state agencies to be a party in family court cases.

19.100 It would be an exceptional step for a court to join an agency as a party against its will. There would be significant cost implications for child protection agencies, in staff time, representation in hearings and possible adverse costs orders. It is also arguable that joining the agency as a party would not achieve a great deal in many cases. Any documents in the possession of the agency can already be accessed through subpoena. The reason for joining the agency as a party in Ray v Males was because the court contemplated making an order that the agency have parental rights and duties. In most cases it would appear that what family courts need from child protection agencies is not that they be a party in the case, but information and investigation of child abuse allegations. The more important question is how that information and those investigations are to be provided.

Recommendation 19–1 Federal, state and territory governments should, as a matter of priority, make arrangements for child protection agencies to provide investigatory and reporting services to family courts in cases involving children’s safety. Where such services are not already provided by agreement, urgent consideration should be given to establishing specialist sections within child protection agencies to provide those services.

Recommendation 19–2 State governments should refer powers to enable the Australian Government to make laws allowing family courts to confer parental rights and duties on a child protection agency in cases where there is no other viable and protective carer. Family courts should have the power to join a child protection agency as a party in this limited class of cases.

[74] L Moloney and others, Allegations of Family Violence and Child Abuse in Family Law Children’s Proceedings: A Pre-reform Exploratory Study (2007), prepared for the Australian Institute of Family Studies, vii.

[75] The case of Ray v Males [2009] FamCA holds that the court does have such a power. That case has been appealed and the judgment is reserved at the time of writing. The case is discussed further below.

[76]Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) s 67Z(3). ‘Registry Manager’ is defined in s 67Z(4) to mean: (a) in relation to the Family Court—the Registry Manager of the Registry of the Court; and (b) in relation to the Family Court of Western Australia—the Principal Registrar, a Registrar or a Deputy Registrar, of the court; and (c) in relation to any other court—the principal officer of that court’. Chisholm notes that this requires notification ‘whether or not there is plausible supporting evidence’: R Chisholm, The Child Protection–Family Law Interface (2009), 23.

[77]Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) s 67ZA(2). Section 67ZA(1) sets out the list of relevant court staff and professionals affected by the obligation.

[78] Ibid s 67ZA(3). If the relevant person is aware that the authority has previously been notified about the abuse or risk in either case, the person need not notify, but may still do so: s 67ZA(4).

[79] R Chisholm, The Child Protection–Family Law Interface (2009), 23.

[80]Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) s 92(1).

[81] Ibid s 91B(2).

[82] Ibid s 92A(3).

[83]Ray v Males [2009] FamCA.

[84]Denny & Purdy [2009] FamCA, [34].

[85]Ray v Males [2009] FamCA (discussed further below).

[86] J Wood, Report of the Special Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection Services in NSW (2008),
548–549.

[87]Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) s 67ZA(2). Section 67ZA(3) permits (but does not mandate) notification where a person suspects, on reasonable grounds, ill treatment or exposure to behaviour which would cause psychological harm. Section 67Z requires notification where a party raises an allegation of abuse.

[88]Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (NSW) s 30(b): a child will only be at risk of significant harm if current concerns exist for the safety, welfare or wellbeing of the child (s 23). In the ACT, emotional abuse will only constitute ‘abuse’ under the Act if it has caused or will cause significant harm to a child’s wellbeing or development: Children and Young People Act 2008 (ACT) s 342. In Victoria, a child is in need of protection if the child has suffered or is likely to suffer significant harm from physical or sexual abuse, or suffer significant damage to their emotional or intellectual development as a result of emotional or psychological harm: Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic) s 162. In the Northern Territory, a child is in need of care and protection if the child has suffered or is likely to suffer harm. Harm is an act, omission or circumstance causing a significant detrimental effect on a child’s wellbeing: Care and Protection of Children Act 2007 (NT) ss 15, 20. In Western Australia, a child is in need of protection if the child has suffered or is likely to suffer harm as a result of abuse. Harm means a detrimental effect of a significant nature on a child’s wellbeing: Children and Community Services Act 2004 (WA) s 28.

[89] A Zhou, Estimate of NSW Children Involved in the Child Welfare System (2010), prepared for the Department of Community Services (NSW).

[90] F Kelly and B Fehlberg, ‘Australia’s Fragmented Family Law System: Jurisdictional Overlap in the Area of Child Protection’ (2002) 16 International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family 38, 60.

[91] Ibid, 61–62.

[92] Australian Law Reform Commission and Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Seen and Heard: Priority for Children in the Legal Process, Report 84 (1997).

[93] Re Wakim; Ex parte McNally (1999) 198 CLR 511.

[94] Australian Law Reform Commission and Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Seen and Heard: Priority for Children in the Legal Process, Report 84 (1997), Rec 124.

[95] T Brown, R Sheehan, M Frederico and L Hewitt, Resolving Family Violence to Children: An Evaluation of Project Magellan (2001).

[96] Family Law Council, Family Law and Child Protection: Final Report (2002), Recs 2, 3.

[97] Family Law Council, Improving Responses to Family Violence in the Family Law System: An Advice on the Intersection of Family Violence and Family Law Issues (2009), Rec 7.

[98] Consultation Paper, Question 14–5.

[99] National Legal Aid, Submission FV 232, 15 July 2010; Queensland Government, Submission FV 229, 14 July 2010.

[100] Magistrates’ Court and the Children’s Court of Victoria, Submission FV 220, 1 July 2010; Office of the Child Safety Commissioner, Submission FV 215, 30 June 2010; National Abuse Free Contact Campaign, Submission FV 196, 26 June 2010; Women’s Legal Service Victoria, Submission FV 189, 25 June 2010; Women’s Legal Service Queensland, Submission FV 185, 25 June 2010; Confidential, Submission FV 184, 25 June 2010; Women’s Legal Services NSW, Submission FV 182, 25 June 2010; D Bryant, Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia and J Pascoe, Chief Federal Magistrate of the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia, Submission FV 168, 25 June 2010; Justice for Children, Submission FV 148, 24 June 2010; National Council of Single Mothers and their Children Inc, Submission FV 144, 24 June 2010; C Humphreys, Submission FV 131, 21 June 2010; N Ross, Submission FV 129, 21 June 2010; Confidential, Submission FV 96, 2 June 2010; C Pragnell, Submission FV 70, 2 June 2010; Queensland Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian, Submission FV 63, 1 June 2010.

[101] The Australian Association of Social Workers, Submission FV 224, 2 July 2010.

[102] Department of Human Services (NSW), Submission FV 181, 25 June 2010.

[103] National Abuse Free Contact Campaign, Submission FV 196, 26 June 2010; National Council of Single Mothers and their Children Inc, Submission FV 144, 24 June 2010.

[104] For example, Family Court Brisbane, Consultation FVC 97, Brisbane, 20 April 2010.

[105] Women’s Legal Services NSW, Submission FV 182, 25 June 2010; C Pragnell, Submission FV 70, 2 June 2010.

[106] Queensland Government, Submission FV 229, 14 July 2010; Wirringa Baiya Aboriginal Women’s Legal Centre Inc, Submission FV 212, 28 June 2010.

[107] Magistrates’ Court and the Children’s Court of Victoria, Submission FV 220, 1 July 2010; Department of Human Services (NSW), Submission FV 181, 25 June 2010; D Bryant, Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia and J Pascoe, Chief Federal Magistrate of the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia, Submission FV 168, 25 June 2010.

[108] Department of Human Services (NSW), Submission FV 181, 25 June 2010.

[109] T Brown, R Sheehan, M Frederico and L Hewitt, Resolving Family Violence to Children: An Evaluation of Project Magellan (2001).