Published: 24 August, 2023

Updates to family violence plan and principles

This week the Courts have published the updated Family Violence Plan and Family Violence Best Practice Principles.

Both documents have been updated on the advice of the Courts’ Family Violence Committee. They set out the Courts’ commitment to identifying and managing family violence, the actions the Courts will take, and practical guidance to assist court users, legal practitioners and other stakeholders to understand how family violence is managed by the Courts.

The Family Violence Plan refines and updates the last plan issued in 2019. The Best Practice Principles are the 5th iteration, having first been published in 2009.

Family Violence Plan

The Courts’ vision under the Family Violence Plan is to be responsive to allegations of family violence, to effectively address family violence in all matters coming before the Courts, to enhance the safety of children and their families, and to provide a safe environment for all court users, judges and staff.

The Family Violence Plan is an overarching document that contains goals and actions for the operation and administration of the Courts in order to protect and support those experiencing, or at risk of, family violence and to ensure all court users are safe.

The actions in the Family Violence Plan are specific and targeted across three areas of focus:

  1. protection from violence
  2. safety at court, and
  3. information and communication.

Measures include:

  • regular review of the Family Violence Best Practice Principles, which provide guidance to judges, registrars, lawyers and litigants about the conduct of matters in which family violence or child abuse is alleged
  • regular review of the operational and administrative processes and the case management pathway of the Courts in relation to family violence
  • ongoing training and development for decision makers and staff to enhance awareness and capability in addressing family violence issues, and
  • improved communication of the Courts’ responses to family violence.

Family Violence Best Practice Principles

This document sets out seven overarching principles, and details how each principle is given effect by the Courts, as well as the expectations for court users, legal practitioners and litigants. The overarching principles are:

  1. Family violence is not acceptable.
  2. Safety is a right and a priority for all court users.
  3. Parenting matters involving family violence will be identified early and appropriately managed.
  4. All professionals working in or appearing before the Courts are expected to undertake ongoing training and professional development to ensure that they have a sound and contemporary knowledge of family violence.
  5. Litigants must have access to specialist and support services, and clear information to assist their full participation in all court processes.
  6. The Courts must have access to information relevant to safety and risks.
  7. All litigants have an equal right to access justice, and those experiencing family violence are not to be disadvantaged in the court system.

The Family Violence Best Practice Principles and Family Violence Plan are both available on the Courts website: