Information sharing between the family law and criminal justice and child protection systems
The Law Council of Australia provided a submission to the Attorney General’s Department (AGD) in response to its reform project which is aimed at improving information sharing between the Federal Circuit Court and Family Court of Australia (the family law courts), State and Territory courts, and welfare agencies of the States and Territories.
A consistent and uniform approach to the sharing of appropriate information for the safety of families across these systems has been the focus of a number of inquiries and projects by the family law courts, State and Federal authorities and State and Federal Governments for some time. The Law Council considers that the National Framework for Information Sharing between the Family Law and Family Violence and Child Protection Systems (National Framework) will be an important tool to co-ordinate ongoing input and consultation on this very significant aspect of the lives of so many families.
As such, the Law Council continues to support measures that will improve interaction and information sharing between the family law courts and other agencies as a means of enhancing the capacity of the family law courts to properly assess the risk of family violence.
Crucially, the success of these initiatives will depend upon adequate and sustained resourcing of both Federal and State/Territory agencies. The vulnerability around such is a significant factor which informs the viability of these initiatives. Insufficient resourcing of these services renders them ineffective, thereby increasing risk for some people.
In relation to the proposed National Framework, the Law Council’s analysis has had regard to the extent and limitations of current information sharing arrangements. These must logically be understood before an attempt can be made for their improvement. Further, there is a need to give greater consideration to the scope and type of information to be shared under any future arrangements.
You can read the full submission below.