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Greens secure cross-party agreement on greater safeguards for women giving evidence at family law inquiry

Media Release
Larissa Waters 25 Nov 2019

On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the Greens have secured senate support for the family law system inquiry not going ahead until there are strong protection measures for women who choose to give evidence.

Greens co-deputy leader and Spokesperson on Women, Senator Larissa Waters said,
“The Greens have said since day one that establishment of the inquiry into the family law system will pose real danger for women and children.

“If the Government persists in conducting the politicised family law inquiry, it is vital that more is done to keep women who participate safe from violence and harm.

“The Greens have reached across party lines and the Australian Senate has agreed the inquiry should not proceed until the government can guarantee strong protections for witnesses. 

“This would include the ability for giving evidence in confidence or remotely, ensuring safe access to hearing venues, and strict media protocols. It would also mean support for survivors of violence, including funding specialist services to meet increased demand resulting from this inquiry.”
Women’s safety advocates, led by the Australian Women Against Violence Alliance, have today warned Senator Pauline Hanson’s assertion that women were ‘liars’ has already had an impact.

This morning they shared part of a letter from Amy* who has two young children and is a survivor of family violence and abuse. In the wake of the announcement of the Inquiry, she wrote to Women’s Safety NSW saying: 

“This whole inquiry [has] emboldened my ex-husband and there was an escalation in domestic violence from him, which has traumatised my children further”.

Senator Waters commented, ““This toxic inquiry is unsafe for women and children. The establishment of the inquiry has already unleashed a torrent of victim-shaming and blaming women.
“The Government should not be subjecting women who have experienced domestic violence and abuse to further trauma when the evidence is already available on the type of changes needed for improving the family court system.”
“The Government has yet to implement the recommendations of the Australian Law Reform Commission review of the family law system or earlier inquiries. It should prioritise evidence-based strategies to make family law safer for victims and survivors of family violence, rather than allowing this compromised inquiry to go ahead.”


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