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Behind closed doors: family dispute resolution and family violence

Conflict management Families Australia

Under the new family law system in Australia it is compulsory for separating parents to attempt family dispute resolution (FDR) prior to taking their parenting dispute to court. Although there is an exception for family violence cases, many women who have experienced such violence will undertake FDR either because the violence is not detected or because it is not seen to impact on their capacity to participate. Some women who have experienced family violence may choose to engage in FDR given the limited alternatives available in the family law system. DVRCV and other services are concerned about the impact of the new system on victims of family violence. In this Discussion Paper, DVRCV outlines these concerns, including the potential for the emphasis on FDR to push family violence further ‘behind closed doors’ to be dealt with in the private arena of FDR.

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