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Protecting children: have your say

Protecting children: have your say

The Australian Government is seeking your view on proposed changes to the Family Law Act to better protect children from family violence. The draft legislation is called the Family Law Amendment (Family Violence) Bill 2010 Exposure Draft. You can find it here at www.ag.gov.au/familyviolencebill

Why should I tell the government what I think?

It is important that the government hears your experiences and opinions on how the family law system is or isn’t working to protect women and children from family violence. The government will make changes to the draft legislation based on the stories it hears through its consultation process. If you think:

  • the government should make the draft legislation into law or
  • more changes should be made to better protect women and children

then tell the government to make it happen.

What should I tell them?

You can tell the government:

  • your experiences of the family law system and family violence
  • if the family law system is working well to protect women and children from violence in your own case or in your clients’ cases
  • what changes are needed
  • if the changes will make a difference to you or your clients, and
  • if more changes are needed?

The position paper by Women’s Legal Services Australia will tell you what they think and may give you some ideas about what to write.

How should I tell them?

You can write a letter or an email to government. Your letter does not have to be long – it can be just a few lines or half a page. You can also write a longer letter if you have more to say. If your letter is longer than a couple of pages you might want to use headings to set out the information. You should also put your main points at the very top of the letter so it is clear what you are saying. If you don’t want your letter to be made public you should say that it is confidential.

Where do I send my comments?

You can email the government at familyviolencebill@ag.gov.au or post a letter to: Family Violence Bill Family Law Branch, Attorney-General’s Department 3-5 National Circuit BARTON ACT 2600 Comments are due by 14 January 2011.

What else can I do?

You can also call or write to your federal local Member of Parliament to let them know what you think. You can send them the same letter that you send to the government.

Related links

  • Women's Legal Services Australia Position Paper on family law changes
  • Family Law Amendment (Family Violence) Bill 2010 Exposure Draft (download the draft bill)

Image credit

Photo from Flickr by Rae Allen