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The Lighthouse Project pilot is a new Court initiative introduced by The Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia (the Courts) to assist the most vulnerable families navigating the family law system.
The Lighthouse Project introduces risk screening, triage and if applicable, a parenting matter can now be placed in a specialised Court list known as the Evatt List. This is to ensure that families who are the most vulnerable are provided with appropriate resources and support.
The Primary focus of the Lighthouse Project Pilot is to improve outcomes for families involved in the family law system.
It commenced in Brisbane and Parramatta registries on 11 January 2021 and has been active in Adelaide since 2020. Any parenting only case now filed in the three pilot registries are eligible to be included in the Lighthouse Project Pilot.
Parties filing initiating applications and responses in the Adelaide, Parramatta and Brisbane registries will be asked to complete a risk screen, called the Family DOORS Triage, as part of the project.
The risk screen will include questions relevant to risk concerns. Parties are encouraged to complete the risk screening process as soon as possible after filing their court documents. This needs to be completed in order to receive the benefits of appropriate case management, safety planning and service referrals.
A party who has completed a Family DOORS Triage questionnaire cannot be compelled to disclose risk screening information. These provisions ensure that parties are able to freely and confidently participate in the family safety risk screening process, without fear that the information they provide may be used against them in other contexts.
Any information that is disclosed in connection with the DOORS triage risk screening process under the Act is prevented from being disclosed and admitted into evidence.
Where at least one party has completed the Family DOORS Triage questionnaire, returned a high risk assessment, and met with a Family Counsellor, the matter will be allocated to the Evatt List.
The Evatt List is a specialist court list developed and designed to assist those families that have been identified as being at high risk of family violence and other safety concerns. The Evatt List focuses on early information gathering and intervention, through a Judge-led support team. The team has specialised training and is experienced in working with families where high risk safety issues have been identified.
Matters which are not eligible for the Evatt List include:
Further information about the Lighthouse Project can be accessed here: http://www.federalcircuitcourt.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/fccweb/family-law-matters/family-violence/lighthouse-project/lighthouse-project
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