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Domestic Violence

The Lighthouse Project

Did you know that the Courts have devised a plan to better help the families experiencing domestic violence?

In December 2020, Chief Justice Alstergren launched the Lighthouse Project as a mechanism to identify families at risk and experiencing Domestic Violence and provide help quickly to help the most vulnerable.

He says “the level of family violence in our society is a disgrace.”

The $13.5 million scheme has developed a triage system where early risk screening is performed via an online platform called the Family DOORS Triage.

The Project has a three- step process:

  1. Screening:

This is an online survey that is performed by the Family Doors Triage. It is a series of confidential questions that can be completed on any device.

2. Triage and case pathways:

A specialised team will assess the answers and categorise them according to: High, Medium and Low. This allows the family counsellors and Registrars to make recommendations and triage cases (like a hospital system). They are highly trained and have experience in family violence and ‘family safety risks’.

3. Case Management:

There are three streams that the case will be referred to. The Evatt List, Other Case Management and Alternative Dispute Resolution. According to the answers provided, a family’s case will be allocated accordingly to get the help when and where your family needs it.

How does this relate to how my case will be assessed in the Court room?

Ten specialist judges are now allocated to high- risk cases and integrate additional support with registrars, family counsellors and consultants.

This means that additional training and support are supplied to the judges presiding over matters concerning family violence and other serious issues.

Currently the new system has commenced trial in the Federal Circuit Court in Adelaide, Brisbane and Parramatta. The scheme has also been rolled out to the Family Court of Australia in early 2021, with a view to make this a national scheme. The merger of the Federal Circuit Court and the Family Court of Australia will also impact these developments that will be reported in the coming weeks.

For more information on the project see:

http://www.familycourt.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/fcoaweb/family-law-matters/family-violence/lighthouse-project/lighthouse-project

Media Release:

http://www.federalcircuitcourt.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/fccweb/reports-and-publications/media-releases/2020/mr031220

If you or anyone you know are experiencing domestic violence please contact:

  • 1800 – RESPECT (1800 737 732)
  • Domestic Violence Helpline:  1800 656 463
  • Child Protection Helpline: 132 111

If you fear for your immediate safety please call 000.