The Lighthouse Project starting
The Court is launching a new Domestic Violence initiative in Brisbane next week, called The Lighthouse Project.
The new pilot program which started last month in Adelaide, will now start a trial period in the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court in Brisbane and Paramatta, from 11 January 2021. The program will be initially trialled for 3 years.
The program has been designed and introduced in an effort to protect families, who are involved in parenting proceedings, from domestic violence as well as other safety matters. The program will work the following way:
- Once a court application is filed for parenting proceedings, the parties will be required to complete a confidential online risk screening assessment. The service is focussed on early risk identification and responsiveness to those risks.
- The results of the screening process will be considered by Registrars and Family Counsellors with the assistance of Case Managers and Case Coordinators in the court, to determine how the case will then be managed.
- There are 3 options for the management of the case depending on the level of ‘risk’ classification:
- High Risk cases will be given to a Family Counsellor for risk assessment, referral and safety planning. A registrar of the court will also review the case to determine whether it should be placed on the “Evatt List”. This is also a new list that has been introduced as part of this process. When determining whether a matter is appropriate for the “Evatt List” a Registrar will consider whether the proceedings have high risk factors including:
a) serious abuse or risk of serious abuse of a child of the proceedings whether it be physical, psychological or neglect;
b) serious family violence or risk of serious family violence by a party to the proceedings whether it be physical, emotional/psychological or financial;
c) recent threats or attempts to abduct a child. If the matter is deemed appropriate by the registar it will be referred to the “Evatt List” and be dealt with by a team of specialist judges who have been selected based on their experience with family violence.
- Moderate risk cases will be offered safety planning and service referrals via the online process and consideration will later be given to other case management options such as court ordered family dispute resolution whether internal or external to the court;
- Lower risk cases, will be focussed on court ordered family dispute resolution whether internal or external to the court.
The information provided as part of the screening process by parties will be kept confidential and is inadmissible and cannot be used as evidence in any court proceedings.
If you have any questions about Domestic Violence, or any aspect of Family Law, contact Michael Lynch Family Lawyers today on: (07) 3221 4300 or email: [email protected]