Lighting the way for early risk identification and progression of matters involving family violence.
Legislation has recently been passed by the Federal Government that aims to protect families from domestic violence as they progress with parenting proceedings through the Courts. With a focus on two key elements – risk and responsiveness – the Lighthouse Project is designed to shape the allocation of resources and urgency given to cases involving family violence. To facilitate this purpose, the project operates in the following way:
When a court Application or Response for parenting proceedings is filed, the parties will be directed to complete a confidential online questionnaire. This screening procedure assesses a range of safety risks that often arise in family proceedings including family violence, mental health issues and substance abuse.
The questionnaire takes approximately 10-15 minutes to complete and simply requires a yes or no answer as opposed to any specific detail or lengthy examples. Importantly, the other party will not see your answers, nor can your answers be used as evidence in the matter.
The results of the questionnaire are then considered by a dedicated team of professionals who determine the most appropriate management pathway going forward based on the level of risk present. There are three possible pathway: Red, Amber, or Green.
Cases will be managed based on their particular pathway allocation.
If the case is assessed as ‘red’ or high-risk, it will be referred for immediate action with a family counsellor to conduct a risk assessment and tailor safety plans and service referrals. A court Registrar may also review the case and consider it for inclusion in the Evatt List. This specialist list ensures efficient and effective progress of the matter and that appropriate resources and support are provided to families to safeguard against family violence and other associated risks.
If the case is assessed as ‘amber’ or medium-risk, it will be considered for a range of case management options and directed to the most suitable one depending upon the party’s individual circumstances. Safety planning and service referrals will also be offered.
If the case is assessed as ‘green’ or low-risk, it may be referred to Family Dispute Resolution in order to provide an opportunity for the parties to resolve their dispute in a more efficient and economical manner.
It is important to note that the initial pathway allocation is determined only by the information that is available at the risk screening assessment. If a party’s circumstances change, they can make arrangements to rescreen.
If you have experienced family violence and have fears for your safety or that of your children, you should contact the Police.
If you would like more information about the Lighthouse Project, or require assistance with a Family Law concern, our friendly and experienced team at VM Family Law can help. Please contact us on (07) 3447 8966 or firstname.lastname@example.org to book a consultation.