Children: Safety and risk

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Notifying the Court about family violence and child abuse

If you have a family violence order, you must tell the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (the Court) about the order.

The Notice of child abuse, family violence or risk is a mandatory form for any person who files an Initiating application, Application for consent orders or Response to initiating application in the Court seeking parenting orders. The Notice of child abuse, family violence or risk is the way that you notify the Court of any allegations of family violence, child abuse or risk, in parenting proceedings.

See How the Court considers safety and risk for more information.

Family violence orders

A family violence order is an order made under a state or territory law to protect a person from family violence. The Court does not make family violence orders.

Family violence orders may affect orders made by the Court, especially parenting orders about children spending time with a parent or another person. For more information about family violence orders see, Family violence orders.

Risk assessment

The Court is often assisted in children’s cases by expert evidence about risk, medical and other health records, and forensic investigations. These can include:

  • family reports and memoranda prepared by Court Children’s Service or external exports
  • psychiatric or psychological assessments
  • psychosexual assessments, and
  • drug and/or alcohol tests, including urine tests, blood tests and/or hair follicle tests.

In most cases, the costs of those services (other than those provided by Court Children’s Services) must be paid by the parties to the proceedings.

Lighthouse model

The Court is committed to the protection of vulnerable parties and children in family law proceedings and is leading the way in helping families that have experienced family violence and other safety risks to navigate the family law system.

The Lighthouse model plays a central role in the Court’s response to cases which may involve risk relating to family violence, mental health, drug and alcohol misuse and child abuse and neglect, by shaping the allocation of resources and urgency given to such cases.

You will be invited to complete the risk screen when you file an Initiating Application or Response with the Court seeking orders relating to children, such as parenting only orders, or parenting and financial orders, in Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Canberra, Dandenong, Darwin, Hobart, Launceston, Melbourne, Newcastle, Parramatta, Rockhampton, Sydney, Townsville and Wollongong.

For more information see Lighthouse.

Staying safe at court

If you have any concerns about your safety while attending court, you must let the Court know. See Safety at court for more information about safety plans and what the Court can do.

Getting help and support

Family Advocacy and Support Service

The Family Advocacy and Support Service (FASS) is an integrated duty lawyer and social worker service available for families affected by family violence or abuse. FASS is run by Legal Aid and is free. FASS may be able to help you with preparing documentation, organising a referral to a service and helping with court proceedings.

Visit https://familyviolencelaw.gov.au/fass/ to find the contact details of FASS in your state or territory.

There are a number of other organisations that also provide advice and support. See Family Violence - Get help and support.

If you are in immediate danger call 000.