In an effort to assist families who have experienced family violence and safety risks to navigate the family law system, the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court of Australia have launched a new initiative called the Lighthouse Project. The project, which is being piloted in Brisbane, Parramatta, and Adelaide, is a three-part process that starts with a screening process. Once an Initiating Application is made for parenting orders, parties will be sent a confidential link by the Court to a questionnaire that can be completed by the parties from any device.
The responses to the questionnaire cannot be used as evidence, and any information provided to a family counselor during the screening process cannot be disclosed or used as evidence. The specialist team comprises family counsellors and skilled Registrars who have detailed knowledge of family violence and safety risks, and they will triage the matters coming before the Court and identify any parties that may need additional support or safety measures. Case management options include Alternate Dispute Resolution and designation to the new Evatt List, a specialised Court List designed for families who have been assessed during the triage process as high risk of family violence and other safety concerns.
It is important for practitioners working in the field of family law to properly advise their clients about the new program and encourage them to complete the screening process as soon as possible. The primary focus of the Lighthouse Project is on improving outcomes for families involved in the family law system.
Domestic violence lawyers on the Gold Coast and family lawyers offering free consultations can find a guide on the Federal Circuit Court of Australia website for practitioners in the Evatt List.
For more about the Lighthouse Project, click here: Lighthouse Project – Federal Circuit Court of Australia.
Practitioners can find a guide here: Guide for practitioners in the Federal Circuit Court Evatt List – Federal Circuit Court of Australia