The Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia will be implementing a Family Screening Tool Pilot for child dispute services in order to further improve the screening process of family violence. The pilot is a result of the Courts commitment to the early identification of any risks to the children and their parents from family violence.
The pilot will begin from April 2015 in the Child Dispute Sections of the Melbourne and Brisbane registries for clients attending 11F Child Inclusive Conferences with a Family Consultant. It will involve parties being sent an online set of questions regarding their experience of family violence. The completed responses will then be forwarded to the Family Consultant who will conduct their conference. With this information the Family Consultant can most effectively explore concerns with parties during their individual interviews.
What is s11F of the Family Law Act?
Under section 11F of the Family Law Act 1975 the Court may order parties who have not reached agreement about their children and are involved in a case to attend, or arrange for a child to attend, appointments with a Family Consultant. The Family Consultants are either qualified social workers or psychologists experienced in dealing with families. After meeting with the families, the Family Consultants provides a Family Report to the Court that assists the judicial officer in making a determination about the arrangements that are in the best interest for child or children involved.