Supporting women to recover financially after separation
Women and their families will benefit from a package of measures that provide expanded legal and social support to victims of family violence, and services to help families resolve family law disputes.
On 20 November 2018, the former Australian Government announced a package of measures to improve women's economic security – the Women's Economic Security Package (WESP).
The WESP included $98.4 million in new funding for family law services and initiatives, to commence in the 2019-2020 financial year. The Women's Workforce Participation and Economic Security Package in the 2021-2022 Budget extended funding for some measures.
The measures include:
- ongoing funding, initially $7 million over three years, for the new Family Violence and Cross-Examination of Parties Scheme.
- $31.8 million in ongoing funding to Commonwealth-funded specialist Domestic Violence Units and Health Justice Partnerships across Australia and the addition of financial advice, counselling and literacy services
- $13 million each year to Australia’s 65 Family Relationship Centres to help families reach agreement about splitting their property after separation
- $17.5 million in new funding for Legal Aid Commissions (LACS) in each state and territory to carry out a trial of lawyer-assisted mediation to help families with a property pool of up to $500,000 (excluding debt) to divide their property after separation, which includes:
- $10.3 million under the 2018 Women's Economic Security Package to conduct a two-year trial; and
- $7.2 million under the Women's Workforce Participation and Economic Security Package in the 2021-2022 Budget to extend the trial until 30 June 2023.
- $9.4 million in new funding to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia and AGD to conduct a trial of a simpler and faster court process for dividing property between separated couples, which includes:
- $5.9 million under the 2018 Women's Economic Security Package to conduct a two year trial of the pilot; and
- $3.5 million under the Women's Workforce Participation and Economic Security Package in the 2021-2022 Budget to extend the PPP500 Pilot until 30 June 2023.
- $3.3 million in new funding for the Australian Taxation Office to develop an electronic information-sharing system to give the family law court improved visibility of parties' superannuation assets when making property orders.
Further information about the WESP measures:
- Family Violence and Cross-Examination of Parties Scheme
- Specialist Domestic Violence Units and Health Justice Partnerships
- Family Law Property Mediation – Family Relationship Centres
- Lawyer-assisted family law property mediation – Legal Aid Commission pilots
- Small claims property pilots – federal family courts
- Improving the visibility of superannuation assets in family law proceedings
Evaluation of the Legal Aid Commission and federal family court pilots
Evaluations were carried out for the Lawyer-Assisted Family Law Property Mediation – Legal Aid Commission Trial and the Small Claims Property Pilot – Priority Property Pools Under $500,000 (PPP500). Evaluation reports were published in November 2022: