The Lighthouse Project pilot involves:
- early, confidential risk screening through a secure online platform
- early identification and management of safety concerns, and
- triage and assessment of cases by a highly specialised team that will direct appropriate resources and provide safe and suitable case management.
What is meant by ‘risk screening’?
- Risk screening refers to the process taken to identify the likelihood of harm or exposure to a type of harm (child abuse and neglect, family violence, mental health issues and drug or alcohol misuse) experienced by a party or child in family law proceedings. This process involves an online risk screening questionnaire called the Family DOORS Triage in the Courts.
- The Family DOORS Triage questionnaire can be completed safely and securely on your computer, mobile or tablet. Although we ask that you complete the questionnaire, it is voluntary for you to do so. The questionnaire will take approximately 10 to 15 minutes to complete.
- By risk screening when you file your documents at the commencement of your case, the Court will be able to decide on the most appropriate case management pathway for your family and identify any extra help that might assist in managing serious concerns for you or your children.
What happens to my risk screen?
- A Family Consultant acting as a Family Counsellor will view the answers to your completed risk screen, to assist with triaging your case according to risk. The other parent/party in your case will not be provided with your answers. The Judge/Registrar or other judicial officer presiding over your case will not be able to see your answers.
- Your answers are confidential and cannot be used as evidence in your case or used against you by the other party under the Family Law Act 1975.
How will this affect my case?
- If you are filing or responding to a family law parenting only matter at the Adelaide, Brisbane or Parramatta registries, you will be asked to complete the Family DOORS Triage online risk screening questionnaire.
- The questionnaire will enable the Court to identify any risks you or your child/ren may be experiencing. After the questionnaire is completed, the Court will be able to arrange cases into an appropriate case management pathway, according to the risk level identified. These pathways are discussed over the page.
- If the questionnaire is not completed by either party, your case will be placed in the Amber case management pathway by default.
How does the triage process work?
- The three possible pathways for cases are green, amber and red.
- The answers provided in your questionnaire will guide the Court as to which pathway your case will go in.
- A dedicated team within the Court will offer tailored support to you based on the level of risk detected.
- The dedicated team within the Court consists of Family Counsellors, Registrars, DOORS Triage Case Coordinators and Legal Case Managers.
What does the risk category mean for my case?
- Red cases will receive early attention through a face-to-face, video or telephone appointment with a Family Counsellor, who will conduct a follow-up risk assessment, develop a safety and wellbeing plan for you, including for attendance at court events, and offer referrals to support services. Your matter will also be referred to a Registrar for consideration for the Evatt List.
- Amber cases will be offered online safety planning and service referrals as part of the Family DOORS Triage risk screening process. Depending on the level of risk identified, these cases may be encouraged to attend court-ordered family dispute resolution where it is safe to do so.
- Green cases will be encouraged to attend family dispute resolution to assist parties 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.
What is the Evatt List?
- The Evatt List is a specialist list in the Court, which involves active case management and early information gathering to safeguard against family violence and other high risks.
- Your case may be allocated to the Evatt List if:
- your case is filed in the Adelaide, Brisbane or Parramatta registries
- your court documents seek parenting orders only
- either parent in your case has completed the Family DOORS Triage risk screening questionnaire
- either parent in your case has participated in a session with a Family Counsellor, and
- the Evatt List Registrar has reviewed the case and determined it is appropriate for the Evatt List.
- If you are allocated to the Evatt List, you will be notified by the Court before your first Court date.
How will my case be affected if I am in the Evatt List?
- As the Evatt List is for cases with the highest risks identified, it is resource intensive and involves gathering information from child welfare authorities, state courts, police and other relevant bodies.
- If your case is allocated to the Evatt List, you will receive more active case management from a dedicated team involving Judges, Registrars, Family Consultants and court staff, and the number of Court events will be reduced.
Need more information?
See the following resources on the Court's website:
- The Lighthouse Project: www.federalcircuitcourt.gov.au/lighthouse
- Safety plans: Do you have fears for your safety when attending court?
- Family dispute resolution: Dispute Resolution in Family Law Proceedings
- The Evatt List: Guide for parties in the Federal Circuit Court Evatt List
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.