The Family Law Act focuses on protecting children from harm and the Attorney General’s Department has recently commissioned the Family Law DOORS framework (which stands for the “Detection of Overall Risk Screen”) to assist professionals, including family law specialists to detect risks to the safety and wellbeing of their clients and families exposed to family violence and child abuse. The Framework was co-authored by Jennifer McIntosh and Claire Ralfs, both of whom have significant experience in this field.

The aim of DOORS is to help professionals develop client safety plans, refer clients to other appropriate services, and make decisions about which people need to go straight to the family law courts to determine parenting issues. Each “DOOR” in the Framework enables a different level of exploration of individual and family functioning after separation, with a focus on identifying risks to safety, parents’ wellbeing and children’s wellbeing.

Obviously, your safety and the safety of your children is of upmost important and if at any time you feel your personal safety or the safety of your children is under threat then you should contact the police immediately. You also have the option of seeking a Domestic Violence Order through the Magistrate’s Court or, in the event of an emergency, an Order over the telephone.

These are serious and complicated matters and you need a family law specialist who understands the law, is aware of risk and your safety issues in family law matters. Farrar Gesini Dunn, Canberra and Melbourne Collaborative and Family Lawyers are specialists in family law, including in matters involving family violence and child abuse.

Anna Neilan