The Australian Institute of Family Studies has been commissioned to evaluate recent reforms that aimed to improve the family law system's response to disclosures of family violence, child abuse, and safety concerns. This report presents findings from one component of the evaluation - the Court Outcomes Project - which examined the effects of the reforms on court filings, patterns in court-based parenting matters, and the judicial interpretation of key legislative provisions introduced by these reforms.
The project consists of three studies. The Court Administrative Data Study analysed administrative data obtained from the Family Court of Australia, the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, and the Family Court of Western Australia. The Court Files Study investigated patterns in orders for parental responsibility and care-time and the prevalence of allegations about family violence and child abuse. The Published Judgments Study investigated how the legislative amendments are being applied in court decision-making. Together, these studies provide empirical data on the extent to which changes reflecting the aims of the Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Act 2011 reforms are evident in court-based matters.