Published: 28 July, 2023

Media release: One of Australia’s leading family violence experts appointed to the FCFCOA as Director - Family Violence and Indigenous Programs

The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1) and (Division 2) (the Courts) enthusiastically welcome Ms Hayley Foster to continue the Courts’ progressive work in risk identification and providing better support to separating families who have been impacted by family violence.

The Chief Justice of the Courts, the Hon Will Alstergren AO said that Ms Foster is a recognised leader and authoritative voice on family, domestic, and sexual violence.

“With over 20 years of experience, Ms Foster will be a welcome addition to the dedicated team of Judges, registrars and other specialised staff who have been driving significant change in the Courts. Those changes include the development and implementation of the world leading Lighthouse initiative and other achievements such as; better risk identification and assessment, improved case management processes, more dispute resolution opportunities, referrals to support services for children and families, expanded use of highly qualified court child experts, enhanced data collection, and implementing trauma-informed training for judicial officers and staff.

“The Courts have made significant changes but we must not lose momentum. Much more needs to be achieved, not just by the Courts but by the community more broadly, as domestic and family violence continues to be a scourge in our society. Ms Foster has in recent years provided guidance to the Courts’ through an informal advisory reference group that I established in 2020, and I am pleased to welcome Ms Foster in a formal capacity. Her expertise in leading change will be of tremendous benefit to the Courts,” Chief Justice Alstergren said.

The Courts’ Chief Executive Officer and Principal Registrar, Mr David Pringle said that Ms Foster has extraordinary knowledge in the area of domestic and family violence prevention and education and is highly respected within that sector, as well as throughout the legal profession and all levels of government.

“Ms Foster has a deep commitment to social justice and best practice and exceptional leadership skills. Such skills will be crucial in the new Director’s role which includes engaging with key internal and external stakeholders, and continuing to enhance the Courts’ approach to dealing with domestic and family violence. Importantly, the new position will also work closely with our team of Indigenous Family Liaison Officers and managers involved in the Courts’ important Indigenous program,” Mr Pringle added.

Ms Foster said that she is honoured and filled with excitement to take on this significant role at an important juncture in the Courts’ history.

"As a key priority, the Courts are dedicated to safeguarding the best interests of children and ensuring their safety and wellbeing, along with that of their families, especially during times of separation.

"Under the guidance of the current Chief Justice and Chief Executive Officer / Principal Registrar, the Courts have shown an unwavering commitment to addressing family violence and abuse while fostering genuine connections with our diverse community, making the Courts more accessible and responsive to community needs.

"I understand the immense responsibility and privilege that comes with contributing to this transformative journey. Utilising my expertise and experience, I am enthusiastic about collaborating with this passionate and high-performing team to continue to improve the Courts in how they support families at risk of harm. I am eager to engage with the legal profession, the community sector, governments and Court users to create a meaningful and positive impact on the lives of children and families in this important new role,” Ms Foster added.

Ms Foster’s role as Director - Family Violence and Indigenous Programs commences on Monday 31 July 2023.

See biographical details below.


Image removed.

Hayley Foster is a recognised leader and authoritative voice on family, domestic, and sexual violence, with over 20 years of experience generating positive change within business, community, and government settings.

Throughout this time, Hayley’s work has encompassed frontline family, domestic, and sexual violence services, accredited behaviour change, family law practice, family dispute resolution, industry training and education, policy, law reform, financial services, sector development, management consulting, and executive leadership.

Underpinning her extensive experience, Hayley is eminently qualified, holding a Bachelor of Laws (First Class Honours and University Medallist), a Bachelor of Business (Economics, Finance, and Accounting), and postgraduate qualifications in law practice, mediation, family dispute resolution, financial planning, and social sciences. Hayley’s current advisory positions include membership on the Commonwealth Advisory Group for the National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children, the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research Sexual Assault Research Advisory Panel, and the Fair Work Commission’s Sexual Harassment Working Group.

Hayley possesses high-level capabilities in strategic planning and program design and evaluation, having led and designed important initiatives across a range of sectors to greatly enhance the performance of many organisations. Over the past decade, Hayley has played a key part in shaping substantial reforms at the state and federal levels, including in the criminalisation of coercive control, affirmative sexual consent laws, a national curriculum on respectful relationships, paid domestic violence leave, Respect@Work, and influencing family law reform.

Most recently, Hayley held the position of Chief Executive Officer of Full Stop Australia, where she established herself as a trusted advisor to boards and executives of ASX listed companies, Australian governments, courts, the university sector, and a range of community organisations guiding their efforts to prevent and respond to family, domestic, and sexual violence. Her work centres on supporting leaders to drive cultural change, creating safer, more inclusive, and more respectful communities.

Hayley’s leadership skills have been recognised by influential Australian leaders. In 2022, she was awarded the Chief Executive Women Not for Profit Scholarship to complete their celebrated Leadership Program, and this year, following her graduation from the Australian Institute of Company Directors, she accepted a scholarship position for the world-leading McKinsey Executive Leadership Program, under the nomination of former Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick AO.

Throughout her various roles Hayley has maintained a focus on child safety and worked alongside Aboriginal community organisations, along with key government and non-government agencies, to achieve greater investment and community engagement in early intervention initiatives. As a Regional Program Coordinator for the Commonwealth Attorney-General's Family Law Pathways Program, Hayley worked with key local agencies and community representatives across Northern NSW to deliver "Did Ya Know Day", a community legal education initiative that resulted in increased proactive community engagement with family law, child protection, and early intervention services to improve outcomes for their children, families, and communities.

Denise Healy, Director – Media & Public Affairs, Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia

m. 0409 743 695