We are often asked why the ‘Notice of Risk’ form is required to be filed when neither party is alleging risk or family violence in parenting matters.

Pursuant to s68N of the Family Law Act, the Court must aim to ensure that orders, injunctions and arrangements made, do not expose parties and children to family violence and that they are in the best interests of children.

In 2012, the Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Act 2011 (Cth) commenced. This legislation expanded the definition of family violence in the Family Law Act. The Notice of Risk became a mandatory form used by any person who files an Application or Response seeking parenting orders after 12 January 2015 to combat the under reporting of family violence in family law matters.

If no issues of risk are identified on the form, the Court has a record of the position of each party in relation to allegations of child abuse or family violence from the commencement of the proceedings. If a notice is filed raising risk issues, the Registry Manager must, as soon as practical, notify a prescribed child welfare authority under section 67Z of the Family Law Act 1975 of the matters alleged.

If a party to family law parenting proceedings becomes aware of new facts or circumstances in relation to risk, abuse or family violence, they need to file a new Notice of Risk outlining these changes in addition to an Affidavit stating the evidence relied upon to support the allegations. This requirement assists with targeted intervention in matters where these issues are live.