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Specialised fast-track of COVID-19 DV cases needs additional funding

Media Release
Larissa Waters 27 Apr 2020

The decision to fast-track COVID-related domestic and family violence matters and parenting disputes in the family court must be backed in with extra government funding to ensure the system works and can be continued beyond the current crisis, according to Greens Leader in the Senate and spokesperson on Women, Larissa Waters.

“The Greens have consistently called for extra resources for the family court system and a triage approach to cases involving domestic or family violence. The significant rise in these cases during the COVID-19 crisis highlights the need for quick access to justice,” she said today.  

“The proposal to hear COVID-related cases within 72 hours is a significant step forward. However, quick, fair, and child-safety focussed outcomes will only be achieved if additional funding is given to courts and community legal services to implement the new system. 

“It is also critical that the triage list becomes a permanent feature of the Family Court, and that more is done to assist at-risk women and children who have not yet reached the court system.

“The government should urgently introduce a support package that includes:

  • additional funding for the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court to implement the triage system;
  • additional funding for frontline domestic and family violence services, particularly legal services; and
  • more support for Safe at Home programs, including safe technology services.

“The Greens will ask the Joint Select Committee into Australia’s Family Law System to monitor the operation of the COVID-19 list, and will call for a permanent triage system to keep women and children safe,” Senator Waters said.

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