The Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety Limited (ANROWS) is an independent, not-for-profit research organisation established to produce evidence to support the reduction of violence against women and their children.  ANROWS invited six experts from the domestic violence sector to the discussion panel to share their diverse experiences and views about improving safety of women and children in the Family Court.

Facilitator: Michele Robinson, Director of Evidence to Action at ANROWS

Panel Speakers:


Domestic violence has been a long-standing issue in Australia. During the pandemic there was a significant rise in the rate of women experiencing domestic violence.

The Family Court is in a key position to drive change and improve the safety of women and children. This panel event focussed on the Family Court reforms introduced since 2020 which aim to ensure greater protection of children and vulnerable women. A sample of these reforms include reviewing of existing laws and responding to the growing needs of family violence victims. For instance, one reform is about providing a new domestic violence-focused training program and improving child related decision-making in Family Courts.  The Family Court is also focused on minimising the harm that legal processes can inflict on vulnerable groups.

Panellists talked about the existing issues faced by victims in navigating the courts and explored mechanisms to improve and increase their safety and access to services.

Key messages

The speakers highlighted that although the new reforms are welcome, the issue of reducing trauma and improving safety for women and children in the Family Court, remains.

The panel highlight the multiple causes of trauma experienced by women in the court system. This includes:

The panel offered a multitude of solutions to improve the safety and wellbeing of women and children. Suggestions included:


To know more, watch the video here.

Check out the other resources related to this discussion on safety (physical and cultural) for family violence victims and their children:

ANROWS – Improving family violence legal and support services for Indigenous women

ANROWS – The impacts of domestic and family violence on children

OPEN Resource – Invisibility of Domestic Violence issues in multicultural communities

OPEN Symposium 2019 – Presentation on Keeping children visible when working in the context of family violence

ACU Toolkit – Conducting research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children about family violence


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