Evaluation of a pilot of legally assisted and supported family dispute resolution in

December 2012 | Research papers


Australian Institute of Family Studies


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In July 2009, the Federal Government announced funding for a pilot program to provide assistance, including family dispute resolution (FDR), to such families. Subsequently, Women’s Legal Service Brisbane (and other consultants) were funded by the Attorney-General’s Department (AGD) to develop a model for coordinated family dispute resolution (CFDR). CFDR is a service for separated families who need assistance to resolve parenting disputes where there has been a history of past and/or current family violence. It is being implemented in five sites/lead agencies across Australia: Perth (Legal Aid Western Australia), Brisbane (Telephone Dispute Resolution Service [TDRS], run by Relationships Australia Queensland), Newcastle (Interrelate), Western Sydney (Unifam) and Hobart (Relationships Australia Tasmania). TDRS made adaptions to the model to accommodate its telephone-based service.

This report sets out the findings of an evaluation of the CFDR process that has been funded by the Attorney-General’s Department. The evaluation was based on a mixed-method approach involving several different data collections. These were:

§      a study based on case file data from the entire cohort of CFDR files up to 30 June 2012 (n = 126), and a sample of comparison group files (n = 247) drawn from services run by each of the lead partners where CFDR services were not offered;

§      a qualitative study based on interviews with professionals working in the pilot (n = 37) in the early stages of implementation, and a second study comprising interviews with professionals (n = 33) near the end of the evaluation data collection period (April–June 2012);



Mediation/Family Dispute Resolution