Recent changes to the Family Law Act have resulted in greater protection for the victims of family violence. Among other things the amendments are aimed at ensuring victims of family violence are not put in a position where they are either personally cross-examined by their perpetrator or required to cross examine their perpetrator directly.
In these circumstances the cross examination must be conducted by a legal practitioner.
Having legal representation in family law proceedings is not always accessible to parties, as a result the alleged perpetrator may be eligible to access to a government funding to be legally represented for the cross examination purpose only through the Commonwealth Family Violence and Cross-examination of Parties Scheme.
Accessing this scheme is not means or merit tested. Notwithstanding this, persons accessing this Scheme may be required to contribute to the costs of their legal representation.
In certain cases, if there are allegations of family violence but the court does not prohibit personal cross-examination, the court has the power to invoke a number of appropriate protections for the party who is the alleged victim of the family violence such as use of video links or screens.
At Tiyce & Lawyers we have extensive experience in dealing with matters where domestic violence has taken place and understand that separation under these conditions is complex and sensitive.