Survivors of domestic violence could find it easier to seek compensation under proposed family law reforms designed to make the justice system safer and more accessible.
Draft legislation and a consultation paper released by the federal government on Monday propose that family violence be considered an important factor in property disputes and settlements.
Inquiries have found challenges facing the justice system include problems with responding to family child abuse and neglect; overly complex and confusing laws; financial hardship from protracted legal battles and incompetent family law professionals.
The Australian Law Reform Commission recommended amendments to family law that allow compensation for the harm caused by family violence by removing barriers to providing evidence.
Lawyer and domestic violence prevention advocate Angela Lynch welcomed the changes.
"Often, women who have experienced domestic violence don't have access to the information about assets or where the assets are and that makes it very difficult for them to make claims in court," she told ABC TV on Monday.
She said many women walked away with nothing as they were too scared to pursue a settlement or economic compensation.
But she acknowledged financial settlements could still be fraught.
"I'm unsure whether it will make a significant difference, I mean, in the end, the law can only do so much in relation to its impact on how human beings behave," she said.
"But obviously, it's a step in the right direction."
Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said the reforms would send an important message about the long-term harm of violence.
"This program of reform demonstrates the Albanese government's commitment to making the family law system safer for families, especially children," he said in a statement.
The new laws would enhance the court's ability to manage family violence evidence, clarify when a court can order someone to pay for an independent children's lawyer and strengthen access to information about children who could be at risk of violence.
Submissions on the draft legislation close on November 10.
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