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Keep Family Court Safe

The National Network Stopping Violence Services applauds the decision of the Government and Greens to reject Muriel Newman’s Bill which planned to open Family Court proceedings to the public.

This Bill would not necessarily have made the Court accountable, but it could have made it very unsafe for children and other vulnerable family members. ‘As far as we are concerned, safety is absolutely critical’ said Paul Prestidge, executive officer. ‘if you were a victim of family violence, how safe would you feel if anyone, including associates of your abuser, may enter the court at any time, or if the intimate, vulnerable things you need to say might be repeated in public, at work, or at school.

Once this safety and privacy is protected, we need to review how the Family Court decisions, or at least the reasons for its decisions, can be more widely known. We support the Government’s intention in this regard.

In our experience of the Family Court, gathered through our work with families, most of which are affected by violence, we see that they are dealing with difficult situations, and have the safety of children as their priority. There are times when this will be different to the short-term interests of the father. 95% of the applications for custody are resolved by agreement or mediation, so we are talking about a system that is, in general very successful.


ENDS

For further information, Contact:

Paul Prestidge
Executive Officer
National Network of Stopping Violence Services
04 499 6384 / 025 529556


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