Intimidation, withholding child support payments and even arguments between parents could now be considered “family violence”, according to major SA family law firm Tindall Gask Bentley.
TGB says the major amendments to the Family Law Act rolled out this week were passed by Federal Parliament last year and significantly broaden the definition of “family violence”.
Now included is behaviour which coerces, controls or causes fear to a family member, and recognition that exposing a child to family violence, including witnessing an act of violence, may constitute child abuse.
Jane Miller, a family law specialist and partner at Tindall Gask Bentley Lawyers, says the major reforms are designed to provide greater protection to children.
“These amendments represent a significant shift in Australia in recognising, reporting and dealing with family violence and parenting disputes, and are welcomed as being a positive step for children at the centre of custody disputes,” Jane says.
“By bringing a more contemporary definition to 'family violence', we will also see the Court better positioned to determine when shared parenting is and isn't in a child's best interests.”
Updated 7 June 2012