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New law to protect family violence victims from direct cross-examination
Eunji Cho | 승인 2018.07.05 08:55

New legislation prohibiting direct cross-examination by perpetrators of violence will enhance protection of family violence victims.

The Commonwealth Government proposed the Family Law Amendment (Family Violence and Cross-examination of Parties) Bill 2018, to prohibit direct cross examination in specific and serious circumstances to protect victims of re-traumatisation. 

According to the Government, protection for victims of family violence in family law proceedings was identified as a key issue by the Council of Australian Governments’ National Summit on Reducing Violence against Women and their Children. 

These circumstances include where there are convictions, charges or final family violence orders in place between the parties. 

Also, under the new Bill, courts will have discretion to prohibit direct cross-examination where family violence is alleged. If court’s discretion is not exercised, then the court would be required to apply other protections, such as the use of video links or screens in the court room.

Moreover, if direct cross-examination is prohibited under the new legislation, cross-examination is to be conducted by a legal representative.

"There is no question that directly facing a perpetrator or alleged perpetrator of family violence compounds the trauma of that violence and can also impact on the ability of a victim to give clear evidence in legal proceedings," Attorney-General, Christian Porter said.

The Attorney-General added that “the Bill will provide confidence to victims that they will be protected during cross-examination”.

Eunji Cho  info@hanhodaily.com

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