Published: 12 December, 2022

AG's Media Release: Ensuring family safety in Australian Hague Convention cases

The Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP

12 December 2022 | Media Release

The Albanese Government has amended the law to make it clear that allegations of family and domestic violence can be considered before return orders are made for children under the Hague Convention.

The Family Law (Child Abduction Convention) Amendment (Family Violence) Regulations 2022 provide additional safeguards to parents and children fleeing family and domestic violence when Australian courts consider cases brought under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

The regulations make clear that family and domestic violence is a relevant consideration under the ‘grave risk’ defence and a court does not need to be satisfied that such violence has occurred or will occur before it is taken into account.

The regulations will also make it clear that:

  • conditions can be included on a return order to protect a child from exposure to family and domestic violence even if the court is not satisfied that such violence has occurred or will occur; and
  • courts must consider proposed conditions that are put forward by a party in the proceedings.

Australia fully respects our international obligations under the Hague Convention. These regulations affirm that protection from family and domestic violence is an important consideration in proceedings.

The amendments demonstrate the Albanese Government’s commitment to an effective, accessible, fair and safe family law system that supports victim-survivors of family and domestic violence.

I look forward to continued engagement with stakeholders on further measures to improve the safety of women and children in Convention cases.

More information and resources on international family law and children is available on the Attorney-General's Department website.

If you or someone you know is impacted by family, domestic or sexual violence, call 1800RESPECT or visit their website.