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Strengthening the protection afforded to families against family violence

Strengthening the protection afforded to families against family violence

By Steven Sapountsis

Family Court 


The Law Institute of Victoria has long been an advocate of addressing the harm and dislocation caused by family violence, and has been proactive in advocating changes to make it easier for families affected by family violence to obtain the advice and protection they need. For more than two decades the LIV has constituted a family violence portfolio, currently chaired by past LIV president Caroline Counsel. In 2014, the LIV joined, and became an active participant in the Magistrates’ Court Family Violence Taskforce, led by Chief Magistrate Peter Lauritsen. Numerous agencies and judicial officers participate in this taskforce which seeks to identify the extent of the problem and to explore solutions across criminal, civil and child protection jurisdictions. Last year saw an increasing awareness of, and action around, issues of family violence, with the identification of the risks to the safety and wellbeing of women and children arising from an uncoordinated approach to service delivery for the protection of victims. These issues and risks were very much the primary theme of the submissions made and evidence given, to the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence. One of those submissions The taskforce made a joint submission to the Royal Commission into Family Violence last year and meets regularly to continue the collaboration between the respective agencies and organisations. It is anticipated that the primary future focus of the taskforce will be to review and analyse the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Family Violence, which is due to hand down its report by 29 March 2016. Family Violence Portfolio Roundtable Conference The LIV has, for some time, sought to identify how we, as members of the legal profession, can work more effectively with other professionals to better protect those family members – usually women and children – affected by or at risk of family violence, usually committed by a partner or former partner. The Family Violence Portfolio has been proactive in identifying opportunities for further collaboration by, and the sharing of information between, the various professionals who work with the victims and perpetrators of family violence.

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