Streamlining family violence evidence requirements
The family violence provisions in migration law allow certain visa applicants to remain in Australia if their relationship has broken down and they have suffered family violence.
On June 17 this year, the government proposed changes to how people who have suffered family violence provide evidence (other than court orders) to the department. For more information on the proposed changes, see the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship’s media release – New Support for family violence victims at www.minister.immi.gov.au/media/cb/2012/cb187607.htm
The proposed changes seek to improve access for vulnerable applicants who have suffered family violence. Under the proposed new framework, applicants would need to present a minimum number of documents from a list of acceptable evidence.
The intent is that the list would include documents which are accessible to victims of family violence. People who have suffered family violence may have gained access to a range of support services and it is fair that they be able to provide these documents to the department as evidence.
For example, the list could include:
- hospital medical reports
- police reports
- proof that the applicant has already satisfied the same definition of family violence under another Commonwealth law
- welfare authority reports regarding fears for a dependent child’s safety, and
- letters or statutory declarations from persons in certain professions including social workers, psychologists, marriage counsellors, medical practitioners, women’s refuge counsellors.
We are seeking feedback on the above list of documents and would be interested to hear your ideas about other credible documents that may be accessible to family violence victims. Suggestions will be accepted up until September 1.
Further information about the current requirements for submitting family violence claims is available on our website at: www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/38domestic.htm