An attempt to stop the 'unnecessary & dangerous' family law inquiry fails

An attempt to stop the ‘unnecessary & dangerous’ family law inquiry failed

family law inquiry
An attempt to stop the government’s controversial family law inquiry in Canberra on Tuesday evening was unsuccessful.

A motion filed by The Greens senator Larissa Waters, that had the support of Labor, failed 33 to 27 in the Senate.

Ahead of the vote a national alliance of domestic and family violence services united to issue a joint call to senators to stop “the unnecessary and dangerous” inquiry.

Their joint statement noted that: “Domestic and family violence groups across the country are unanimous in their opposition to the Government allowing the Andrews-Hanson family law court inquiry to pursue a biased and damaging agenda. Since the inquiry was announced, not one service that works with victims-survivors of domestic violence has expressed any support for the process.”

Rather than pursue another inquiry the group says the government ought to implement the recommendations reached by the Australian Law Reform Commission. This was the position in Senator Larissa Waters’ motion.

“This inquiry is dangerous and unnecessary. Experts in the domestic and family violence sector are unanimous in our opposition,” the Australian Women Against Violence Alliance (AWAVA) Program Manager, Dr Merrindahl Andrew, said. “This inquiry will only delay real action when women’s and children’s lives are on the line.”

“We call on parliament to stop this harmful and unnecessary inquiry, and instead take immediate action to make the system safer,” Tiffany King, Co-Chair of CWDVSSA, Coalition of Women’s Domestic Violence Services of South Australia, said.

“Victims/survivors and the community at large can have no confidence in this parliamentary inquiry when it’s clear it has been designed to create a platform for those who choose not to believe victims/survivors, and is co-chaired by someone who has openly stated her prejudiced view about women raising domestic violence in the Courts,” Hayley Foster the CEO of Women’s Safety NSW says.

“Moving forward with this inquiry can only undo important progress our parliament, and community have made in trying to ensure victims of domestic violence can come forward, and be believed,” Kedy Kristal, Policy Officer of the WA Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services, said.

Dr Karen Williams, the founder of Doctors Against Violence Towards Women, said it is ‘inconceivable’ to fund another inquiry.

“As medical professionals who work on the forefront with victims of violence, we would categorically disagree with a new inquiry into the Family Law Court without adequate justification as to why public monies would be spent in this manner. At this stage, there is not enough housing for victims of violence, most women cannot afford legal representation in the family court, and there is minimal funding for meaningful psychological support for victims of trauma.”

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