Domestic Violence – Could you imagine being Cross-Examined by your Abuser?

Did you know?

  • One in six women in Australia have experienced violence by a current or past partner
  • Many victims face barriers which prevent or discourage them from reporting the abuse
  • PM Turnbull announced a package aimed at increasing support for at-risk women and children
  • A loophole in the Family Law Act sees victims at risk of being cross-examined by their abuser
  • A Federal MP has introduced a bill to close this potentially damaging loophole

Family lawyersIt is estimated that one in six Australian women will experience domestic violence at some stage in their life. Regardless of gender, victims of family violence often face many barriers when reporting the abuse, including shame, embarrassment, victim-blaming, homelessness and the fear that reporting may increase the abuse.

Recently, Prime Minister Turnbull announced that the Australian Government will be introducing a $100 million package aimed at providing a safety net for women and children at a high risk of domestic violence. The Prime Minister stated ‘Women and children in Australia have the right to feel safe and live without fear of violence’.

Whilst this action has been welcomed, some are wondering if things are moving fast enough. Federal MP Cathy McGowan is urging the Government to support an amendment to the Family Law Act. This amendment will close a loophole that currently allows accused perpetrators to cross-examine their victims.  She has received support from other MPs from Dobell, Moreton and Newcastle.

StopThere is already a protection in place for sexual assault complainants in Victoria, however McGowan is calling for this to be extended federally, throughout all states. This loophole could be devasting to victims of family violence.

Recently in Florida, a judge handed out a jail sentence to a victim who refused to testify against her attacker. Whilst this is a unique case, there has been mass criticism from those who say that this action will discourage victims from reporting abuse and may scare them into thinking they have no legal recourse. The loophole in the Family Law Act is likely to have a similar effect on Australian victims.

Our team is experienced in providing professional guidance and all areas of Family Law. We can help you to act urgently to secure an intervention order, a recovery and/or location order and in any other area you may need legal assistance. If you feel you need to talk to someone trained to give guidance on personal issues, we can assist with referrals to a counselor or psychologist.

If you have experienced violence at the hand of a partner or family member, or are feeling at risk, the team at Le Brun & Associates are available to provide urgent legal assistance for you and your family. Your safety is always first and foremost.

If you are in a potentially violent situation, we urge to contact the National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counseling Service on 1800 737 732.