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

Zahra , 2777  /  signed 2015-11-09 21:47:39 +1100
Leah , 3183  /  signed 2015-11-09 21:25:56 +1100
kathy , 6156  /  signed 2015-11-09 21:22:16 +1100
"I am facing exactly this right now, unfortunately the current practices of family court support family violence and revictimise the abused through ongoing unaffordable legal processes and no protection or support for the traumatised :( it is far too easy to use the system as a weapon for vengeance."
Fiona , 3056  /  signed 2015-11-09 21:11:05 +1100
Diane , 2548  /  signed 2015-11-09 19:40:51 +1100
Tom , 2016  /  signed 2015-11-09 18:33:58 +1100
Felix , 2106  /  signed 2015-11-09 18:20:55 +1100
Nick , 2043  /  signed 2015-11-09 17:55:58 +1100
Sherry , 6112  /  signed 2015-11-09 17:05:31 +1100
"I will be experiencing a similar experience…as if it hasn’t been terrifying enough to have to be in the same room as him through Family Court hearings…the Family Court WA are at a loss of what to do in my case and have sent it to go to trial before a judge! I cannot afford to be represented as the cost of representation at this level will be in the ballpark of $30,000 plus. Meanwhile, he has been receiving free counselling, free education and gained qualifications and now the magistrate at family court is insisting he is appointed a pro bono lawyer to represent him at the trial so that is can have a fair trial! I can’t understand a society that protects and helps the criminal and leaves the victim to pick up the pieces, break their backs to work to support and raise their children solely and continue with finding finances to pay existing debts that were in the relationship and have to live in hiding to desperately try to protect their children. The system is an embarrassing joke and my family and friends suffer also with constant worry that he will eventually find us and it will be too late."
Sophie , 2000  /  signed 2015-11-09 16:47:04 +1100
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