The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (the Court) takes family violence seriously and has various measures in place to ensure you are safe when you come to court.
Do you have fears for your safety?
If you have fears for your safety or that of your children, regardless of whether you are attending the Court, you should contact the police.
If your fears are immediate, ask for urgent help and tell the police if there any weapons involved. The police are equipped to respond quickly and appropriately.
Most police departments have trained family violence officers who can put your case into a state or territory court and get a family violence order (also called protection, domestic violence or apprehended violence orders) for you. Once such an order is made, the police will respond to and deal with breaches of it.
More information, including contact details of state and territory police, is available in the Family violence: Get help and support section of this website.
Do you have fears about attending a court appointment or hearing?
If you have any fears about attending a court appointment at the same time or in the same room as your former partner/ other party, please tell the Court as soon as possible. You can do this by completing the enquiry form, selecting 'Safety at court' under What is your enquiry?. If you have been given the number of the person directly managing your case, you can also call them directly but do this before attending so arrangements can be made.
Safety measures vary in registries. There are safe rooms available in many registries and provision can sometimes be made for separate entry and exit points. You may also be able to attend by phone or by video.
For more information see the publication Do you have fears for your safety when attending court?
Attending court electronically
If you have fears about attending a court event in person and are unable to bring a support person or friend with you, you can apply to attend your court event via telephone or video link.
In your request you will need to set out the reasons why you are requesting to attend via telephone or video link. The approval of the request will be at the discretion of the docketed judge or the registrar the matter is listed before.
Support person or friend
If you are not legally represented, you may have a friend or support person attend a court conference or other court appointment with you. The extent of a support person's involvement in the conference/appointment will be at the discretion of the registrar or court child expert conducting the conference/appointment.
If you have a friend or support person with you, they may sit at the back of the courtroom. Children and young people under 18 are not permitted in the courtroom.
During a hearing, parties who are not legally represented may be allowed to have a support person sit with them. The extent of the support person's involvement in the hearing will be at the discretion of the judicial officer.
Family Advocacy and Support Services
Each Australian state and territory has a Family Advocacy and Support Service (FASS). FASS provides free legal advice and support at court for people affected by domestic and family violence.
If you are worried about your safety at court or about going to court, please talk to your local FASS before your court date.
- help you plan for your safety
- talk to the Court about your safety at court
- give you information and support during your family law case
- help with practical problems like Centrelink and housing
- advocate for you with services like police, and
- connect you with other services.