Family law bid to halt threats over finances

Caroline Overington; 30/1/10

A report on family law recommends a change to the legal definition of violence to encompass behaviour that is “economically abusive”, threatening or coercive. The report, by the Family Law Council, says changes made to the Family Law Act (1975) by the Howard government narrowed the definition of violence and was “conservative in its drafting”. The review was one of three reports released this week on family law, one of which warned that women and children were at a greater risk of violence. The Family Law Council report said the definition of violence in the act was in “some ways reminiscent of the common law definition of assault”. “It is questionable whether it encompasses the debilitating psychological abuse by controlling conduct,” the report says.