Evaluation of the 2012 Family Violence Amendments

Past project

This project examined the impacts of changes to the Family Law Act 1975 in the area of family violence.


On 7  June 2012, significant amendments to the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) commenced with the main elements of these amendments being to:

  • introduce wider definitions of family violence and abuse
  • clarify that priority is to be accorded to the "protection from harm" consideration over the "meaningful relationship" consideration where these primary considerations stand in conflict

  • broaden the obligations on advisers, the courts and parties to proceedings in cases involving concerns about child abuse and family violence

  • repeal provisions that may discourage disclosure of family violence and safety concerns. 

About the project

Building on findings of the Survey of Recently Separated Parents 2012, the Longitudinal Study of Separated Families, and the 2009 AIFS Evaluation of the 2006 Family Law Reforms, this project examines the impacts of changes to the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) in the area of family violence.

View publications from this project.

The project has three parts:

  • Responding to Family Violence - A survey of family law practices and experiences which primarily involved online surveys of professional practices and perspectives
  • Survey of Recently Separated Parents 2014 based on a large-scale survey of parents’ experiences and perspectives
  • Court Outcomes Project involving:
    • a quantitative analysis of patterns in orders for parental responsibility and time made in the Family Court of Australia (FCoA), the Federal Circuit Court of Australia (FCCoA) and the Family Court of Western Australia (FCoWA)
    • a national  analysis of court filings data provided by the FCoA, the FCCoA and the FCoWA
    • an analysis of published judgments

Ethics and privacy

This study is being conducted in accordance with strict privacy and ethical requirements including the AIFS Privacy Policy. The AIFS Ethics Secretariat can be contacted at ethics-secretariat@aifs.gov.au .

The participation of individuals in this research is confidential and we will not identify individual participants by name in reports and publications that arise from this research.

Getting help

AIFS is unable to provide advice or to assist with specific concerns in relation to individual family law matters. There is a range of information and advice available at the Family Relationships Online website or you may contact the Family Relationships Advice Line on 1800 050 321 for information and referrals. If you have a lawyer, you may also wish to discuss your family law matter with them.

Call 000 at any time if you are worried about your safety, or the safety of another person or a child.

If you are experiencing domestic and family violence, or you need advice or support about domestic and family violence, please contact the National Sexual Assault Domestic Family Violence Counseling Service (1800 Respect) on 1800 737 732 for 24/7 advice and support.

If you need some extra support or advice about other issues in your life, Lifeline provides general and crisis telephone counselling and can be contacted on 13 11 14.




2013- 2015