Who is leading the change
- Court Services Victoria
The Magistrates’ Court of Victoria consider revising the form and content of family violence intervention order court applications and documentation to:
- ensure that when proceedings are filed with the court both the affected person and the respondent are informed of the Magistrates’ Court’s jurisdiction under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth). Such information should be available to parties in self-initiated applications and in proceedings initiated by a police family violence safety notice
- inform the applicant that the court may revive, vary, discharge or suspend a parenting order pursuant to section 68R of the Family Law Act
As part of a number of reforms, the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria is working to make courts safer and less traumatic for victim survivors by developing innovative approaches to improve the court experience. Our work on this recommendation includes:
- Working with the Federal Circuit Court and Family Court of Australia to assist with harmonising the courts approaches to managing families dealing with family violence issues in both the state and federal jurisdictions
- Improving documentation and the provision of information to parties in the Court’s in relation to family law, with a strong focus on accessibility of information for a diverse audience
- Participating in the Council of Attorneys-General Family Violence Working Group to progress a range of Terms of Reference which relate to recommendations made by the Family Law Council and Victoria’s Royal Commission into Family Violence
- Conducting a 12 month demonstration project of the expanded exercise of family law jurisdiction at a metropolitan and regional Specialist Family Violence Court site to begin to develop an evidence based to inform broader roll-out in cases involving family violence
The Magistrates’ Court of Victoria currently includes information about its family law jurisdiction in its family violence intervention order application form to notify applicants of the Court’s existing powers to make parenting and property orders under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth).
Following amendments to sections 57 and 96 of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008, which came into effect in March 2018, if the Court makes an interim or final order and the respondent or protected person (or both) are before the Court, the Court must explain to the respondent and the protected person (or whichever of them is before the Court) how the order interacts with a Family Law Act order or an order under the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 and if the Court has varied, suspended, revoked or revived a Family Law Act order because it is inconsistent with the order, the purpose, terms and effects of the variation or suspension. Scripts and Information Sheets have been developed for Magistrates, which have been circulated to the magistracy state-wide to promote consistency and embed the giving of explanations to parties in court as business as usual.
Updated family law information including recent amendments to the Family Law Act 1975 contained within the Family Law Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Act 2018, has been drafted for the Court’s re-developed website that will go-live in November 2018.
In addition, the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria and Children’s Court of Victoria are in the process of removing the reference to the 21 day time limit from the family violence intervention order conditions, which requires changes to be made to the Court’s case management system, Courtlink.
The Courts Family Violence Reform Steering Committee recently reviewed the revised family violence intervention order application form as part of the larger Royal Commission Family Violence acquittal program and the opportunity to review the form as part of a broader plain language project was identified. The revised form including information in relation to family law was approved by the Courts Family Violence Reform Steering Committee in December 2018.
Reviewed 17 May 2020