Alleged and convicted perpetrators of domestic and family violence are now prohibited from directly cross-examining their victims in family law proceedings. The Family Violence and Cross-Examination of Parties Scheme requires that cross-examination be conducted by a legal representative rather than an alleged or convicted perpetrator.
The Family Law Amendment (Family Violence and Cross-examination of Parties) Bill 2018 was passed on 5 December 2018 in response to calls by the community to protect victims of family violence from further exposure to trauma caused by being cross-examined in family law proceedings by self-represented ex-spouses in circumstances where domestic or family violence has been alleged or found to have existed.
In summary, this Amends the Family Law Act 1975 to: prohibit personal cross-examination where there is an allegation of family violence between the parties to the proceedings and certain circumstances are satisfied; provide that if personal cross-examination is prohibited, cross-examination must be conducted by a legal representative; and provide that, if there is an allegation of family violence and personal cross-examination is not prohibited, the court must ensure that there are appropriate protections for the party who is the alleged victim of the family violence.
The usual legal aid means and merits tests will not apply.
Please feel free to contact us to make an appointment with our experienced family lawyer, Caroline Granger, to discuss how we can assist you. Caroline is available to meet with you in either our Bendigo or Castlemaine office.