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Abstract

The Australian family law system has struggled for many years to provide processes and procedures that are less adversarial, and which ensure access to justice and fair outcomes for those needing to negotiate arrangements for their post-separation family lives. These challenges are exacerbated, and dealt with least well, in contexts where there is a history of domestic violence (‘DV’). Since 2011 and the launch of the Family Violence Bill by the then Attorney-General the Hon Robert McClelland, the Federal Government has often expressed its commitment to addressing family violence and ensuring post separation agreements are safe. However, a key and proven initiative, the Coordinated Family Dispute Resolution model — a model that has the potential to offer a safe(r) family mediation environment in DV contexts — has not been made accessible to the Australian public. This comment argues that the Australian government has a social and ethical responsibility to introduce this model to the family law system.

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