Post-Separation Conflict and the Use of Family Violence Orders
Sydney Law Review, Forthcoming
45 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2011
Date Written: February 2, 2011
181 parents in 164 different families in Australia who had been involved in disputes about parenting after separation were interviewed about the history of the dispute. In 37% of the families there were known to have been applications for family violence orders made by or on behalf of one of the former partners against the other. While there were some cases of severe physical violence, the majority of cases did not involve physical assaults causing injury, or a significant threat of such assaults.
The research demonstrates the great range of situations in which family violence orders may be sought. FVOs were sought in a number of cases to manage the process of separation into separate households and to maintain boundaries following separation. They were also sought to address issues of verbal abuse or alleged harassment. While applicants reported a valid legal basis for applying for family violence orders, in certain cases they were used as well for collateral purposes connected with potential family law disputes, on legal advice. While FVOs often played the protective role for which they were designed, they could also exacerbate conflict and make it harder to resolve parenting disputes. These findings raise questions about whether there needs to be some reform of Australian state and territory laws on family violence orders.
Keywords: Family Law, Domestic Violence, Restraining Orders, Parents, Dispute Resolution
JEL Classification: K10, K14, K30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation