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     7   Court procedures in family violence cases

Ms McGowan, pursuant to notice, moved—That this House:

(1)        notes that:

(a)        inconsistencies exist between federal and state court procedures in relation to the direct cross examination of a victim by an accused person;

(b)        specific state laws are in place to prevent an accused person from directly cross examining their victim in sexual offence cases and, in some states, family violence protection order cases—in such cases, an accused person must have legal representation to cross examine the victim;

(c)        in family law cases nationally, there are no legislative protections to prevent an alleged perpetrator of violence who is unrepresented, from directly cross examining their victim; and

(d)        intimate partner violence is the top risk factor for death, disability and illness in women aged 15 to 44—the added fear and trauma of cross examination by an alleged or known perpetrator of violence is a continuation of violence; and

(2)        calls on the Government to amend family law legislation to ensure that in situations of family violence, an unrepresented litigant alleged or known to have perpetrated violence is unable to directly cross examine the victim.

Debate ensued.

Debate adjourned, and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for the next sitting.




Suspension of meeting

At 1.12 pm, the Deputy Speaker left the Chair.

Resumption of meeting

At 4.02 pm, the Deputy Speaker resumed the Chair.