The Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia have recently introduced a new initiative called the Lighthouse Project designed to assist at-risk families/individuals who may have experienced family violence and other safety risks and guide them through the family law system.

The Lighthouse Project is designed to screen for risk and improve outcomes for families involved in the family law system.

How will the Lighthouse Project work?

The Lighthouse Project – which will initially be piloted in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia in Adelaide, Brisbane and Parramatta – involves a three-step process:

Early risk screening

When an Application or Response for parenting only orders is filed with the family courts, parties will be asked to complete a questionnaire via a confidential and secure online platform known as Family DOORS Triage.

The online questionnaire screens for a variety of risks including family violence, child abuse, self-harm and substance abuse. Responses are confidential and only used for risk screening and to identify suitable case management.

Triage and risk assessment

Cases are then assessed by highly skilled and dedicated family counsellors, Registrars and support staff with detailed knowledge in family violence and family safety risks. Based on the level of risk involved, they will then direct parties to the appropriate support services for further help and assistance.

Case management and specialist support 

Cases will be assessed and assigned support based on the level of risk involved.

  • High risk and Evatt List

Cases deemed high risk will be given an immediate referral and action with a family counsellor in a confidential setting. This can be done either by telephone, videoconference or face-to-face. These matters will then be referred to a Registrar for consideration to be placed on the ‘Evatt List.’

This specialist court list is designed to assist families at a 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.

  • Other case management 

Low to moderate risk cases will be offered safety planning and relevant service referrals, depending on their individual family circumstances.

  • Alternative dispute resolution 

Some cases may be referred for court ordered Family Dispute Resolution in an effort to resolve issues as soon as possible.

How do I learn more?

Our Sydney family lawyers are highly experienced in a range of family law matters and can help guide you through the family law system. We understand family matters are never easy and the courts system can be complex. It is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible, to protect yourself and your family. 

Call us today for a free, no-obligation initial discussion on (02) 9262 4003 or make an appointment online and we can help you with your family law matters. We treat all matters confidentially and with compassion and understanding.

You can also find more information about the Lighthouse Project on the Federal Circuit Court of Australia website.  

The content of this article is intended as a general guide to the subject matter. For specific legal advice about your individual circumstances, please contact our experienced lawyers.
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