The Family Court and Federal Circuit Court of Australia are trialling a new method to assist in the rise of domestic violence cases since covid 19.
The Lighthouse Project is an innovative way in which the Courts will screen if there is any risk to the parties involved to help direct families to health and other support services, such as police and child welfare authorities co-located in court.
The Federal Government said that it will fund the risk screening and triage pilot in the Adelaide, Brisbane and Parramatta registries of the Courts.
Experienced family lawyer, Hayder Shkara, from Justice Family Lawyers, says that the Lighthouse Project is another way that the courts are trying to address the ongoing concern of domestic violence in family law matters.
“Ever since the first lock down commenced as a result of covid 19, there has been an increase in reported domestic violence. The Courts are trying to triage this issue by providing an online resource for those in need.”
Although this is a good start, Shkara says that this solution requires more resources and more judges to determine matters quickly.
“This is a creative solution that the Courts are implementing due to the lack of resources allocated to them by the Federal Government. The only thing that will assist the Courts will be further funding and employing additional judges.”
A secure online questionnaire screens for a variety of risks, including family violence, child abuse, self-harm and substance abuse. The questions may also be answered offline.
The results from the questionnaire will be kept confidential from the judge and registrar and will be given to case managers and family counsellors to assist in categorising high-risk cases for a specialist list. The tool will also help identify matters appropriate for alternative dispute resolution.
A newly appointed senior registrar will oversee the Lighthouse Project pilot in Adelaide and said the program would allow the court to “front-load resources to the families that need it”.
Justice Family Lawyers.
Address : Level 21/133 Castlereagh St, ,Sydney , NSW – 2000 Australia.
Tel : +61 (02) 8089 3148