FCA/FCCA Family Violence Best Practice Principles

The following references are cited in the Family Violence Best Practice Principles – December 2016.
  • Australian Law Reform Commission and New South Wales Law Reform Commission, Family Violence: Improving Legal Frameworks (Consultation Paper, 2010).

    On 17 July 2009, the Attorney-General of Australia, the Hon Robert McClelland MP, asked the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) to conduct an Inquiry together with the New South Wales Law Reform Commission (NSWLRC) into particular questions in relation to family violence that had arisen from the 2009 report of the National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children, Time for Action. At its meeting on 16–17 April 2009, the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) agreed that Australian law reform commissions should work together to consider these issues. The ALRC was asked to consider the issues of:

    1. the interaction in practice of State and Territory family/domestic violence and child protection laws with the Family Law Act 1975 (Cmth) and relevant Commonwealth, State and Territory criminal laws; and
    2. the impact of inconsistent interpretation or application of laws in cases of sexual assault occurring in a family/domestic violence context, including rules of evidence, on victims of such violence’ (p 7).

    The Consultation Paper is arranged in five Parts: an introductory section, followed by parts dividing up the subject areas of the Terms of Reference as providing the lens through which the interaction issues are considered’ (p 91).

  • Bartels, Lorana, ‘Emerging Issues in Domestic/Family Violence Research’, Research in Practice report no.10, Australian Institute of Criminology, April 2010.

    The paper presents an overview of the key emerging issues in Australian domestic and family violence research. In particular, the paper considers this research in the context of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex communities; the elderly; those with disabilities; people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities; homelessness; the impact on children; and issues around perpetrator programs.

  • Chisholm, Richard, ‘Family Courts Violence Review: A Report’ (Canberra: Attorney-General’s Department, 2009).

    Professor Chisholm was required to ‘assess the appropriateness of the legislation, practices and procedures’ that apply in cases where family violence is an issue and to recommend improvements. The author acknowledged the challenges that family violence presents for the family law system and observed that more than half the parenting cases that come to the courts involve allegations by one or both parties that the other has been violent (p 4). The report considers extensively the issue of family violence in the family law system. Part 2 considers court practices and procedures of the federal family courts in cases with family violence issues. Part 3 discusses issues with the applicable legislation in force at the time. Part 4 considers other matters, mainly relating to support services, information sharing and legal representation.

  • Jaffe, Peter G et al ‘Custody Disputes Involving Allegations of Domestic Violence: Towards a Differentiated Approach to Parenting Plans’ (2008) 46 Family Court Review 500.

    Premised on the understanding that domestic violence is a broad concept that encompasses a wide range of behaviors from isolated events to a pattern of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse that controls the victim, this article addresses the need for a differentiated approach to developing parenting plans after separation when domestic violence is alleged. A method of assessing risk by screening for the potency, pattern, and primary perpetrator of the violence is proposed as a foundation for generating hypotheses about the type of and potential for future violence as well as parental functioning.

  • James, Kerrie, ‘Domestic Violence Within Refugee Families: Intersecting Patriarchal Culture and the Refugee Experience’ (2010) 31 The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy 275.

    This article examines the stages of the refugee journey and the intersections of domestic violence with culture, trauma, resettlement and masculinity. Arguing that therapists must challenge aspects of culture that promote violations of women’s human rights while understanding the unique situation of refugee families, the article concludes by identifying principles for therapeutic and community based interventions. See in particular at 276 where the author notes ‘The popular view of culture is essentialist; that is, a view of culture as fixed and immutable. Yet ‘culture’ is not a bounded entity experienced in the same way by all people within it. Culture is diverse, fluid and contested, intersecting with oppression and power. Within cultures there is often strong opposition to harsh and unjust practices and to people using religion or tradition to justify women’s oppression and exploitation.’

  • Kelly, Joan B & Johnson, Michael P, ‘Differentiation Among Types of Intimate Partner Violence: Research Update and Implications for Interventions’ (2008) 46 Family Court Review 476.

    A growing body of empirical research has demonstrated that intimate partner violence is not a unitary phenomenon and that types of domestic violence can be differentiated with respect to partner dynamics, context, and consequences. The authors describe four patterns of violence: Coercive Controlling Violence, Violent Resistance, Situational Couple Violence, and Separation-Instigated Violence. The controversial matter of gender symmetry and asymmetry in intimate partner violence is discussed in terms of sampling differences and methodological limitations. Implications of differentiation among types of domestic violence include the need for improved screening measures and procedures in civil, family, and criminal court and the possibility of better decision making, appropriate sanctions, and more effective treatment programs tailored to the characteristics of different types of partner violence. The authors argue that in the family court, reliable differentiation should provide the basis for determining what safeguards are necessary and what types of parenting plans are appropriate to ensure healthy outcomes for children and parent–child relationships.

  • Laing, Lesley, ‘No Way To Live’ (June 2010).

    This research explored the experiences of 22 women as they navigated the family law system following their separation from a relationship in which they had experienced domestic violence. The research was conducted following the 2006 reforms to the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) relating to shared parental responsibility.

  • In recent years there has been much interest in the impacts on children, both positive and negative, of different patterns of parenting after separation, especially where the care of children is shared equally or substantially between both parents. This article summarises key findings from two recent Australian studies of outcomes for two potential risk groups: school-aged children living in separations characterised by high inter-parental conflict (Study 1), and infants and preschoolers in the general population of separated families (Study 2). Both studies were commissioned by the Australian Government Attorney-General's Department.

  • National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, ‘Excessive Stress Disrupts the Architecture of the Developing Brain’ Working Paper No 3 (2005).

    This working paper from the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child defines the concept of “toxic stress”—what happens when children experience severe, prolonged adversity without adult support. It discusses how significant adversity early in life can alter a child’s capacity to learn and adapt to stressful situations, as well as how sensitive and responsive caregiving can buffer the effects of such stress.

  • Perry, Bruce D, ‘Applying Principles of Neurodevelopment to Clinical Work with Maltreated and Traumatized Children’, in Working with Traumatized Youth in Child Welfare, ed by Nancy Boyd Webb, Guilford Press NY (2006).

    This chapter examines therapeutic work with maltreated children from a neurodevelopmental perspective. The overarching premises of this perspective are that an awareness of human brain development and functioning provides practical insights into the origins of the abnormal functioning seen following adverse developmental experiences (e.g. abuse, neglect, and trauma), and, furthermore, that an understanding of how neural systems change suggests specific therapeutic interventions (p 27). See in particular at p 40, where the author notes ‘The majority of (the) sequential and use-dependent development of the brain takes places in early childhood. Indeed, by age 4, a child’s brain is 90% adult size. The organizing brain is very malleable and responsive to the environment. This means that of all the experiences throughout the life of an individual, the organizing experiences of early childhood have the most powerful and enduring effects on brain organization and functioning. Three years of neglect can cause a lifetime of dysfunction and lost potential’.

  • Sturge, Claire and Danya Glaser, ‘Contact and Domestic Violence – The Experts’ Court Report’ (2000) 30 Family Law, 615-629.

    This expert report was prepared for the cases Re L (Contact: Domestic Violence); Re V (Contact: Domestic Violence); Re M (Contact: Domestic Violence); Re H (Contact: Domestic Violence) [2000] 2 FLR 334. The experts were asked to prepare an opinion on the circumstances in which a child should have no contact with a parent who has used or exposed the child to domestic and family violence. The adverse effects on children of being exposed to family violence are discussed.

    At p 615, the authors discuss the psychiatric principles of contact between the child and the non-residential parent as guided by developmental and psychological knowledge, theory and research. This includes knowledge of child development, interactional issues and innate factors. These core principles should guide decisions relating to contact. The different purposes of contact are discussed at p 616. The benefits and risk of direct and indirect contact with the non-residential parent is discussed from p 617-619.

  • Warrier, Sujata ‘It’s in Their Culture: Fairness and Cultural Considerations in Domestic Violence’ (2008) 46 Family Court Review 537.

    This essay attempts to critique the prevailing thinking on culture and cultural competency within the context of domestic violence. See in particular at p 539, where the author notes ‘Thinking of culture as fixed leads us to make generalizations based only upon ethnic or racial identification. Such thinking conveniently overlooks the intersection of other categories such as class, sexual orientation, disability, immigration status, and so on. Further, none of these categories are fixed in time or one-dimensional. All these categories intersect in individuals and groups differently and change over time as the social and political landscape changes.’