There is no hiding from the concerning statistics surrounding family violence, with one women per week, one man per month and one child per fortnight killed every year at the hands of their intimate partner or family member.
In light of these statistics, the Family Court of Australia has initiated a program to assist families navigate through the Family Law process safely.
The Lighthouse Project is a new innovative approach which has been recently piloted in 2021 to improve outcomes for families involved in the family law system:
- Early risk screening through a secure online platform;
- Early identification and management of safety concerns;
- Assessment and triage of cases by a specialised team, who will provide resources and safe and suitable case management; and
- Referring high-risk cases to a dedicated court list, known as the “Evatt List” in the Federal Circuit Court.
Family Doors Triage
When parties to a family law proceeding file an application or response for parenting orders with the Federal Circuit Court, parties will be required to complete a questionnaire through a confidential and secure online platform developed specifically for the Courts known as “Family Doors Triage”.
The Family Door Triage process considers a range of safety risks that frequently arise in family law proceedings including family violence, mental health issues and drug or alcohol misuse.
This can be completed on any device including your mobile, tablet or PC. Parties can be ensured that their responses are confidential and are only for the purposes of risk screening and referrals to health support. This step is also essential to identify suitable case management to improve the safety and wellbeing for families.
At this stage, family counsellors will assess and direct cases onto the most appropriate case management pathway. This includes online referrals to support services. The cases which need greater support will be offered appointments with family counsellors to offer further referrals and safety measures.
Ateam, including registrars, family consultants and support staff with detailed knowledge in family violence and family safety risks will support the matter through the most appropriate case management pathway.
The Evatt List is a specialist court list which is designed to assist families that have been identified as high risk of family violence and other safety concerns. This list will focus on early information gathering and intervention through a support team led by a Judge. The team have specialised training and are experienced in working with families where high risk safety issues have been identified
Assistance for parties with matters that are HIGH RISK
This entire process is confidential. High risk cases will be referred for immediate action through a video conference, telephone, or as required, face-to-face appointment with a family counsellor. The family counsellor will provide a tailored, clinical follow up which includes a detailed risk assessment, safety and wellbeing plans, and service referrals. The matter will also be referred to a registrar for consideration to be placed on the Evatt list.
Assistance for parties with matters that are Medium Risk
Medium risk cases will be offered safety planning and service referrals as part of the secure online process. These cases will be considered for a range of case management pathways and directed to a suitable pathway based on the individual needs of the case.
Assistance for parties with matters that are Low Risk
Low risk cases may be targeted for court-ordered family dispute resolution, which provides an opportunity for the parties to resolve their dispute without having to go through the often costly and time consuming process of court hearings.
Rockwell Bates’ “H2H” Program (Human to Human)
In recognition of the emotional and in some circumstances damaging impact that family violence and family law disputes can cause, Rockwell Bates have introduced an industry first service for clients –Rockwell Bates Health and Wellbeing Coach. Rockwell Bates has engaged a panel of Psychologists who are available to clients (with the first 3 sessions being free of charge) to help guide clients through the family law process. The coaches are available to assist clients with:-
- managing stress levels – so they can keep healthy, alert and focused ( and functional !) ,
- build resilience so that they can also support others around them that may need it ( ie children); and
- help clients understand at a human level the process, steps and goals that the whole Rockwell Bates team are seeking to achieve for them.
Need further Information ?
- For more information regarding the Family Court Lighthouse Project please visit http://www.familycourt.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/fcoaweb/reports-and-publications/publications/parenting/fv-lighthouse-project-brochure .
- Safe Steps is Victoria’s 24/7 family violence response centre https://www.safesteps.org.au/ .
- Contact Rockwell Bates ‘ Family Law Team to find out how we can assist you https://rockwellbates.com.au/family-law/.