PUT CHILDREN'S SAFETY FIRST IN FAMILY LAW

PUT CHILDREN'S SAFETY FIRST IN FAMILY LAW

The presumption of equal shared parental responsibility (ESPR) in family law legislation prioritises perpetrator rights over the safety of children. For the family courts to truly prioritise the safety of women and children the presumption needs to be scrapped and ‘shared care’ should not be considered a default position.

With up to 85% of family court matters involving domestic and family violence, ESPR and ‘shared care’ often puts children in danger.

The current system places victims of violence on the backfoot in court, mediation, and in negotiations with the violent perpetrator. The legislation is complicated, easily misunderstood and its links ...

The presumption of equal shared parental responsibility (ESPR) in family law legislation prioritises perpetrator rights over the safety of children. For the family courts to truly prioritise the safety of women and children the presumption needs to be scrapped and ‘shared care’ should not be considered a default position.

With up to 85% of family court matters involving domestic and family violence, ESPR and ‘shared care’ often puts children in danger.

The current system places victims of violence on the backfoot in court, mediation, and in negotiations with the violent perpetrator. The legislation is complicated, easily misunderstood and its links to equal time incentivise violent perpetrators to pursue their “rights” in the court and other processes putting kids at risk. 

It is also very complex, making trials and legal processes longer and more expensive. 

Children’s safety should always come first in family law. Show your support now for the removal of the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility in the Family Law Act.

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PUT CHILDREN'S SAFETY FIRST IN FAMILY LAW

Dear Prime Minister (Hon Scott Morrison MP), Australian Attorney-General (Hon Michaelia Cash) and Minister for Women (Senator the Hon Marise Payne) ,

Dear Ministers,


I believe children’s safety should be paramount in family law courts’ proceedings to ensure better outcomes in the future for children and their families.

Report after report have raised concerns about the impacts of equal shared parental responsibility (ESPR) on children when domestic and family violence is present. The Family Violence Law Reform Report of the Social Policy and Legal Affairs Parliamentary Committee recommended the removal of the presumption of ESPR in 2017, and the 2019 Australian Law Reform Commission’s (ALRC) review into the family court recommended the presumption be replaced and not linked to equal time. The 2017 Parliamentary review found the presumption of ESPR and orders for equal time were being inappropriately applied in cases involving family violence. Considering the ALRC report found that up to 85% of family court matters involve domestic and family violence, the continued existence of ESPR is placing thousands of children at risk of further abuse.

There have been enough reviews. It’s time for action. We need to urgently protect children. Remove the presumption of ‘equal shared parental responsibility’ and put children’s safety first.