Family Law Reform – Second Inquiry Now Underway

In November 2010 two Commissions, the Australian Legal Reform Committee (ALRC) and the NSW Law Reform Commission, completed their first inquiry into family violence with the release of a report, Family Violence: A National Legal Response (ALRC Report 114, 2010) containing 187 recommendations for reform.

This report was a product of the year-long joint inquiry during which the Commissions conducted 236 consulations nationally and received 240 submissions from a wide range of relevant government, non-profit and private sector agencies. 

The Commissions were asked to look at the many laws and legal frameworks at Federal and State levels that deal with family violence and to find ways to improve responses from agencies.

In April 2011 the Consultation Paper   relating to the first enquiry – Family  Violence: Improving Legal Frameworks, was released.

This second inquiry concentrates on the treatment of family violence in specific areas of Commonwealth Law with four Issues Papers covering the treatment of family violence in these key areas:

  • Employment and superannuation law
  • Immigration law
  • Social security law
  • Child support and family assistance law.

Rather than produce one overarching Issues Paper, it was decided to produce the four papers separately. The aim is to expose issues in each area and develop tailored management strategies

Submissions are invited for the first  Issues Paper, Family Violence – Employment and Superannuation (IP 36), where the Australian Legal Reform Committee examines both employment assistance and access to superannuation benefits for victims of family violence.

Specifically, it is looking at job assistance and  superannuation law for protection of victims of family violence who may be coerced into transferring superannuation benefits or allowing early access to funds.

Both the report and the first Issues Paper are available from the ALRC website at

Closing date for submissions to the first Issues Paper is 6 April, 2011.

Submissions addressing the questions on each Issues Paper may be made in writing, by email or preferably using the ALRC’s online submission form.

A discussion paper will be released in mid-2011 which will seek community feedback on the ALRC’s proposals for reform. A final report will be presented to the Attorney-General on 30 November 2011.