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Violence against women and their children affects everybody. It impacts on the health, wellbeing and safety of a significant proportion of Australians throughout all states and territories and places an enormous burden on the nation’s economy across family and community services, health and hospitals, income-support and criminal justice systems.


News and events

ANROWS hosts events as part of its knowledge transfer and exchange work, including public lectures, workshops and research launches. Details of upcoming ANROWS activities and news are available from the list on the right.



ANROWS was established by the Commonwealth and all state and territory governments of Australia to produce, disseminate and assist in applying evidence for policy and practice addressing violence against women and their children.



To support the take-up of evidence, ANROWS offers a range of resources developed from research to support practitioners and policy-makers in delivering evidence-based interventions.

Webinar: Family law parenting orders, breaches and their impact on children

Webinar: Family law parenting orders, breaches and their impact on children

  • 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm, Monday, 24th October 2022 - Monday, 24th October 2022
  • Webinar - AEDT

What drives non-compliance with family law parenting orders? This webinar launches the second and final report within Compliance with and enforcement of family law parenting orders. Conducted with the Australian Institute of Family Studies, this research examines how the parenting order enforcement regime is working in Australia. It does so by pulling together a range of perspectives, from the views of parents and carers, and legal professionals as well as judicial insights from court files. This research demonstrates that when parenting orders fail to take children’s views into account, or family violence makes them unsafe to comply with, these factors can be drivers of non-compliance.

While contravention orders are not particularly common in Australia – they make up about 8 per cent of applications for final orders in parenting matters each year – the families who make these applications have complex needs and complex litigation histories. In today’s panel we’ll look at whether the current system for responding to breaches of family law parenting orders contained in div 13A of pt VII of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) meets the needs of these families, with a particular focus on whether it meets the needs of children experiencing domestic and family violence.

This webinar features a panel discussion amongst the report’s researchers and family law practitioners. It will focus on the impact of breaches of parenting orders upon children, and explore how the findings might shape future reforms to achieve better outcomes for families with complex needs and long litigation histories.

This discussion is facilitated by Michele Robinson (Director Evidence to Action, ANROWS) with:

  • Dr Rae Kaspiew, Research Director, Systems and Services, Australian Institute of Family Studies
  • Dr Rachel Carson, Executive Manager Family Law, Family Violence and Elder Abuse, Australian Institute of Family Studies
  • Dr Heidi Saunders, Clinical Psychologist, Carinity Talera
  • Michelle Hayward, Managing Solicitor, Family Law Practice, Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT)
  • Gabrielle Craig, Assistant Principal Solicitor, Women’s Legal Service NSW

There will also be a live Q&A.

This webinar is designed for policymakers, practice designers, practitioners and researchers working in family law, domestic and family violence and child-focused organisations.

The webinar is open to anyone and free to attend. Live captioning will be available for the webinar.




Enquiries: rachel.pow@anrows.org.au

Disclaimer: ANROWS webinars bring together a diverse range of speakers on a particular topic, informed by the evidence base, lived expertise, and policy and practice knowledge. The views expressed by speakers or other third parties in ANROWS webinars and any subsequent materials are those of the speaker or third party and not, necessarily, of ANROWS.


Dr Rae Kaspiew 
Dr Rae Kaspiew leads the research programs at the Australian Institute of Family Studies that focus on systems and services. She is a socio-legal researcher with particular expertise in research on complex issues that cause challenges for families. She has been involved in an extensive range of studies and is the lead author of two large-scale evaluations of successive waves of reforms in family law (the 2006 and 2012 reforms). She led the team that completed the National Elder Abuse Prevalence Study in 2021 and the Compliance with and Enforcement of Family Parenting Orders report in 2022. Themes found in her work include the extent to which systems and services meet the needs of people affected by elder abuse and family violence.

In 2021, the Attorney-General appointed Rae to her third term on the Family Law Council, a body that provides expert policy advice on family law. Rae was on the organising committee for the 2022 National Elder Abuse Conference. She was also on the expert advisory group for the Australian Law Reform Commission’s reference on safeguarding the right of older Australians, from April 2016 to May 2017. Rae was also a member of the Violence Against Women Advisory Group (2009 to 2011) that advised the federal Minister for the Status of Women on the implementation of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children. She is also on the editorial board of the Australian Journal of Family Law.

Dr Rachel Carson 
Dr Rachel Carson is a senior research fellow and executive manager of the Family Law, Family Violence and Elder Abuse Research Team at the Australian Institute of Family Studies. She has 20 years’ experience undertaking socio-legal research focusing on the Australian family law system, including examining the intersections between the family law system and family violence, and in particular legislative, policy and practice reforms designed to improve the system.

After practising as a family lawyer, Rachel worked as a researcher in family law at the Melbourne Law School (University of Melbourne) and was awarded a Melbourne Research Scholarship to undertake her PhD in this field of research. Since Rachel commenced at the Institute in 2012 she has been involved in numerous large-scale, mixed-method empirical studies, including the Compliance with and Enforcement of Family Law Parenting Orders report that is the subject of this webinar. Rachel recently led the Institute’s evaluations of two family law pilot programs initiated under the Women’s Economic Security Package and the Institute’s contribution to the “Future-Proofing Safety: COVID-19 and Family Violence in Victoria” project. She is currently leading a range of research projects including the evaluation of children’s contact services activity. Rachel has represented the Institute in various capacities and was recently appointed a member of the Family Law Council, an independent body of experts that provides advice on family law to the Australian Attorney-General.

Gabrielle Craig 
Gabrielle Craig is the assistant principal solicitor at Women’s Legal Service NSW (WLSNSW). WLSNSW is a specialist legal service providing advice and advocacy to women in New South Wales in relation to domestic violence, family law, human rights, discrimination and sexual assault. Gabrielle is an accredited specialist in family law and has been working with victims of domestic violence for over 15 years.

Dr Heidi Saunders 
Dr Heidi Saunders is a clinical psychologist and senior practitioner at Carinity Talera, a service that provides medium- to long-term trauma recovery therapy for children and young people, along with their protective caregiver, following the experience of domestic and family violence (DFV) and for children in care. Heidi is also the coordinator of the ReNew Program, which involves trauma- and attachment-based therapy for families where a young male is using various forms of violence or power and control (adolescent-to-parent violence) toward the female protective caregiver in the home. Heidi also provides clinical supervision to therapists working in the above contexts, and teaches within the psychology and counselling degrees at the Queensland University of Technology.

Donna Smith 
Donna Smith has been working in the legal profession since 1991. Donna worked in private practice in regional New South Wales for 12 years before returning to Sydney to a boutique family law firm. Donna became an accredited specialist in family law and completed independent representation of children training in 1996. Donna joined Legal Aid NSW in 2008 in the family litigation section and is currently the acting solicitor in charge of the central Sydney Family Litigation Team. Donna practices predominantly as an independent children’s lawyer and has for the last four years acted as a trainer in workshop training for new independent children’s lawyers.

Michelle Hayward 
Michelle Hayward is the managing solicitor of the Family Law Practice of the Aboriginal Legal Service in New South Wales. Michelle has specialised in family law, child protection and family violence prevention for over 12 years, including seven years in the context of representing Aboriginal children and victims and survivors of family violence involved in the family law legal system, both at the Aboriginal Legal Service and Legal Aid NSW. She is an accredited independent children’s lawyer and is responsible for providing parent and child representation at the ALS within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Families List in the Sydney registry of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia. Michelle is an active committee member of a number of national and state-based committees in family law including the Family Law Council, Law Society Family Law Committee, the Greater Sydney Family Pathways Network committee, and the Aboriginal Family Pathways subcommittee.


Michele Robinson
Michele joined ANROWS in 2017 as the Director, Evidence to Action. Michele leads the translation and dissemination of research at ANROWS to support the take-up of evidence into policy and practice, to reduce violence against women and their children. This role builds on Michele’s 18 years of experience in leadership roles developing advice and strategies on research, knowledge partnerships and exchange in a diverse range of sectors, including the prevention of violence against women and their children.


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