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'How Many More Women And Children Have To Die?' Family Court Review Raises Questions

Family violence survivors want a dedicated expert court to stop violent parents killing children and their ex-partners, but instead they're getting another inquiry.

The most recent inquiry into the family law courts was handed down in March. Since then more than 20 women have been killed in domestic violence incidents.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a new joint select committee inquiry into the family court system, chaired by conservative veteran MP Kevin Andrews.

"We know the challenges that family and relationship breakdowns create," Morrison told coalition MPs on Tuesday.

"There are blokes who are victims, there are women who are victims, and most tragically there are children who are victims."

Kevin Andrews has been selected by the Prime Minister to lead the review. Photo: AAP.

But Women's Legal Services Queensland chief executive Angela Lynch said while yet another inquiry ran, one woman every week would die.

"How many more women and children have to die in this system? And we're now going to wait another 12 months," Lynch told reporters in Canberra.

She said somewhere between 50 and 85 per cent of family law matters involved domestic violence.

READ MORE: Australia’s Family Law Courts Are Crippling Families

"The greatest impediment to women leaving domestic violence in this country is the family law system," she said.

"We're asking for reform, we're asking for specialisation, we're asking for a family and domestic violence court."

Photo: AAP.

The government will consult Labor on the terms of reference, and the inquiry will run for about a year.

While Andrews will chair the inquiry, One Nation senator Pauline Hanson wants to co-chair it.

She has been pushing for changes to the family courts because she believes it is rigged against men.

"The desperate calls from broken Australian families will be heard," she told reporters.

Senator Hanson pointed to her personal experience in having two marriage break-ups and being the mother of a parent who had been denied custody of their children.

Lynch encouraged One Nation to get behind her proposal to have expert family violence courts, because she says that will benefit couples who aren't violent or abusive.

Michelle Dorendahl's daughter Eeva was murdered by her father during a court-approved access period, and she met with MPs on Tuesday to urge changes.

"There are changes that can be made that would help people like me," she told reporters.

"It's very frustrating, just the feeling is that we actually don't really matter."

Michelle Dorendahl. Photo: AAP.

The Australian Law Reform Commission made 60 recommendations to the government in March - but the government has not responded to the report.

Liberal MP Sarah Henderson also ran an inquiry into the family court in 2017.

Former Family Court Chief Justice Diana Bryant said the inquiry should look at how family violence is handled, costs to families and delays in the system.

Speaking to ABC RN on Tuesday evening, Bryant said those involved in the Family Court system were likely "depressed" at facing another review.

"These issues have been swirling around for a while, obviously it wasn't thought that the (commission's) report dealt with them adequately," Bryant said.