In response to the recent cases of family violence in our community, the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia have engaged internationally recognised experts to train the Court’s staff including Judges, Registrars and Family Consultants, on the issues of family violence.

In a recent media release, the Courts announced they have engaged the Safe & Together Institute from the US to deliver court-wide training based on the Safe & Together Model™ developed by leading expert David Mandel.

According to the Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia and Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, the Hon Will Alstergren, the training “will focus on issues including protection of children in the context of family violence, identification of protective parenting, coercive controlling behaviours and the impact of family violence on children.”

Calls for change have been a long time coming. This specific training model was recommended by the 2017 Australian Parliamentary Inquiry into a better family law system to support and protect those affected by family violence. The inquiry recommended that all family law practitioners receive this training.

Ivy Law Group’s Head of Family Law, Shane Neagle, believes that while this training is a step in the right direction, there are wider systematic issues at play when it comes to addressing issues of domestic and family violence in the community.

“While a positive step forward, training alone will not fix the problem. There are wider systemic issues, including a lack of understanding in cases of domestic violence, and failures to apply relevant practices and protocols.  This leaves children and parents at risk of serious harm and unfortunately undermines the credibility of our legal system.  It is also relevant that the delays families face in the Australian Family Court system, sometimes up to 3-4 years, often heighten the risks to children and parents and potentially cause long-term harm.”

This training initiative is one of the recently acquired resources of the Court, and works alongside the amended Notice of child abuse, family violence or risk form, and the Lighthouse Project.

Here at Ivy Law Group, we support and advise both men and women when their relationship has come to an end. It is important for us to recognise issues of family violence in matters and to guide our clients and refer them to appropriate resources available to them.

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