Lighthouse Project: Information for practitioners

Family DOORS Triage risk screening and case management

The Lighthouse Project

Parties filing Initiating Applications or Responses to parenting only orders in the pilot sites of Adelaide, Brisbane or Parramatta registries (pilot registries) of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (the Court) will be asked to complete a risk screen, called the Family DOORS Triage, as part of the Lighthouse Project pilot.

Encouraging your client to complete the questionnaire at the earliest opportunity will assist the Court to place the matter into the most appropriate case management pathway and provide the parties with the opportunity to receive safety planning and service referral to address any underlying issues. This referral will assist you to discuss any issues with your client in a safe and confidential way.

Risk screening

Family DOORS Triage is an evidence-based universal screening framework developed to assist with detection of risk and support the development of tailored responses.

Parties filing or responding to a family law parenting only application at one of the pilot registries will be asked to complete the Family DOORS Triage risk screening questionnaire online upon filing their court documents. The platform is secure and the questionnaire can be completed safely and conveniently using a computer, mobile or tablet.

To assist the Court, please ensure that your client's personal contact details are provided when filing an Initiating Application or Response on the Commonwealth Courts Portal, and encourage your client to screen at the earliest opportunity.

Where parties are represented and have not previously provided their email address, lawyers will be contacted by the Lighthouse Project to request their client’s personal details for the purpose of the risk screening process via an online form. These details are only used for risk screening. Beyond that, the Court will continue to contact the lawyer on record for all other issues.

At the earliest stage of a matter coming before the Court, parties will be encouraged to undertake the screen. The responses to the screen will be used by Family Counsellors to assess the steps needed for future management of the case.

Screening responses and referrals are confidential and inadmissible in court. The other party, legal representatives and the Judge/Senior Judicial Registrar will not see or have access to the answers or referrals and they cannot be used as evidence in court. Sections 10Q–10W of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) protect the confidentiality and inadmissibility of this information.

Triage

There are three possible screening outcomes: a green, amber or red pathway. The answers provided in the risk screen questionnaire will guide the Court as to which case pathway may be the most appropriate.

A dedicated team will triage cases according to their identified level of risk. This includes considering a range of safety risks that frequently arise in family law proceedings, including child abuse and neglect, family violence, mental health issues, drug or alcohol misuse and high conflict.

Case management

The Court will also determine the appropriateness of the following case management options based on the screening results:

  • Red cases will receive early action through a face-to-face, video or telephone appointment with a Family Counsellor, who will conduct a follow-up risk assessment, develop safety and wellbeing plans, and offer service referrals. This may also include a referral to be considered for the Evatt List and possible referrals for the need of safety plans during physical attendance at court events. If a matter is placed on the Evatt List, a formal Court Order will be made. If you do not receive a formal Court Order, the Court date originally allocated and case pathway will remain the same unless otherwise advised by the Court.
  • Amber cases will be offered safety planning and service referral as part of the online process. They may also be referred to court-ordered family dispute resolution where it is safe to do so.
  • Green cases will likely be referred to court-ordered family dispute resolution to assist litigants to resolve their cases as soon as possible. These cases may also be offered online safety planning and service referrals as part of the Family DOORS Triage risk screening process.

More Information

More information about the Evatt List and the Lighthouse Project can be found on the Court's website: www.fcfcoa.gov.au/lighthouse

This fact sheet provides general information only and is not provided as legal advice. If you have a legal issue, you should contact a lawyer before making a decision about what to do or applying to the Court. The court cannot provide legal advice.

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