Family court

No one should have to be cross-examined by their abuser

WIN! The Government finally passed a hugely important reform that will protect victim-survivors in Family Court. This campaign came about because of the incredible bravery and advocacy of Eleanor, a survivor of family violence who asked Fair Agenda members to stand with her and the Women’s Legal Services Australia to build pressure on the Government to update these laws. Thank you to all the Fair Agenda members that were part of the campaign supporting this important reform!


Right now there are no legal protections in place to stop abusive ex-partners from cross-examining those they have abused in family courts.1 As Eleanor, the survivor leading the call to change this horrifying system explains, this cruel gap needs to be addressed:

"The day I stood on the stand and was forced to answer the questions of a man who had sexually assaulted and abused me for over a decade were a massive slap in the face. And that horrific experience was a major obstacle in my recovery from the trauma of my abuse. No person should have to be cross-examined by the person who sexually assaulted and beat them.” 

Eleanor's local MP has just raised this issue in federal parliament - now Eleanor is asking for your help to build enough community pressure to push Attorney-General George Brandis to address this cruel system. Can you sign the petition and stand with Eleanor?

If you or someone you know is experiencing family violence or sexual assault, you can call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 for 24/7 support. If you are in immediate danger call 000.

Click here for more information

Under Family Court rules, people without legal representation can currently cross-examine their former partner.2

State and territory courts already have rules in place to make sure this can't happen, but the federally governed family court hasn't yet caught up. Last December the Productivity Commission recommended the law be changed – but the Attorney-General still hasn't responded to the recommendation.3


1, 2, 3. Victorian MP pushing to end Family Court cross-examinations by abusive ex-partners, ABC News, 19 October 2015.


To Attorney-General, Senator the Hon George Brandis QC,

We call on you to urgently introduce a law to prevent abusers from cross-examining their victims in family court. 


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Latest activity

Patrick , 2830  /  signed 2015-11-23 11:01:58 +1100
"all victims of family and domestic violence should be afforded the basic protection of not having to directly engage their abuser in the legal process."
Amy , 2145  /  signed 2015-11-20 01:32:15 +1100
Rhonda , 6005  /  signed 2015-11-18 11:51:57 +1100
"I am a lawyer and have been for many years. Many women are not able to afford legal representation and nor can their estranged partner. The state should fund at least in relation to these proceedings to prevent what is further abuse and to uphold the rule of law."
Catherine , 2564  /  signed 2015-11-17 14:24:01 +1100
terry , 2478  /  signed 2015-11-17 10:49:26 +1100
"I have been rhru an abuaive relationship and understand this issue"
Carly , 6101  /  signed 2015-11-16 16:21:55 +1100
Carolyn , 6027  /  signed 2015-11-16 15:58:00 +1100
"As a DV Counsellor, I see how perpetrators being able to cross-examine their victims in court traumatises and revictimises them. In addition, it is extremely difficult for women to think clearly when their fight/flight system is activated, meaning that she is likely not to represent herself well."
Renee , 4220  /  signed 2015-11-16 15:47:08 +1100
"I’ve been through what you have been through many years ago. I was married to a bastard for 10years before I escaped to a womens refuge. So I understand you. This is important to stop this. You have my support completely. I send you love and light. Renee"
Michael , 2774  /  signed 2015-11-16 14:47:49 +1100
Vanessa , 6110  /  signed 2015-11-16 14:11:57 +1100
"I work in FDV with the Victim Support Unit with Police, refuge worker and myself Snr Child Protection Worker and I am a huge advocate for not re-traumatising victims"
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