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Dear Prime Minister (Hon Scott Morrison MP), Australian Attorney-General (Hon Christian Porter MP) and Minister for Women (Senator the Hon Marise Payne),
Bravehearts agrees wholeheartedly with the Women’s Legal Service. We join so many in believing children’s rights to safety should be prioritised in family court proceedings.
Report after report have raised concerns about the impacts of equal shared parental responsibility (ESPR) on children when domestic and family violence is present. The Family Violence Law Reform Report of the Social Policy and Legal Affairs Parliamentary Committee recommended the removal of the presumption of ESPR in 2017, and the 2019 Australian Law Reform Commission’s (ALRC) review into the family court recommended the presumption be replaced and not linked to equal time. The 2017 Parliamentary review found the presumption of ESPR and orders for equal time were being inappropriately applied in cases involving family violence. Considering the ALRC report found that up to 85% of family court matters involve domestic and family violence, the continued existence of ESPR is placing thousands of children at risk of further abuse.
There have been enough reviews. It’s time for action. We need to urgently protect children. Remove the presumption of ‘equal shared parental responsibility’ and put kids safety first.