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Family Court head pleads for as much focus on family violence as there is on anti-terrorism

By November 11, 2015No Comments

The Daily Telegraph. October 26, 2015. Janet Fife-Yeomans writes:

THE head of the Family Court has pleaded with the government to focus as much on preventing family violence as it does on anti-terrorism.

Chief Justice Diana Bryant said more women and children died at the hands of their partners and fathers than at the hands of terrorists in Australia.

“I’m saying recalibrate our thinking on this,” Chief Justice Bryant said.

“If you look at the number of deaths from terrorism activities in Australia and the number of deaths of women and children from family violence, they are incomparable and indeed some people refer to family violence as domestic terrorism.”

Already this year, 63 women and children have been killed in domestic violence situations and the Australian Institute of Family Studies said this week that violence was involved in a staggering 40 per cent of all family court battles.

None of the $100 million domestic abuse package announced by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will go to the family courts, which are at the frontline in dealing with family violence issues in parenting cases.

Chief Justice Bryant said vulnerable women and children were being let down by the lack of funding as the courts struggled to meet demand, particularly with interim applications where risk assessment was crucial.

“I fully understand that with anti-terrorism expenditure much of it goes on prevention but I think we need to recalibrate our thinking,” she said.

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