5V Family violence
Family dispute resolution where there is a history of family violence – Bring back CFDR!
This paper discusses the Coordinated Family Dispute Resolution (CFDR) process piloted in Australia in 2010-12. This model of FDR was developed specifically for matters involving a history of domestic or family violence. The model comprised four case-managed phases (intake, preparation, mediation and follow-up) providing a coordinated response, a focus on specialist risk assessment, a specifically designed model of facilitative mediation and special measures needed to respond to domestic violence in the mediation context. The CFDR model was evaluated by the Australian Institute of Family Studies as being ‘at the cutting edge of family law practice’ because of its conscious application of mediation where there has been a history of family violence, in a clinically collaborative multidisciplinary and multi-agency setting (Kaspiew et al., 2012, p. ix-x). The dispute system design of the model was focused on the safety of victims of domestic violence and the children at all stages of the process. This paper argues that the Australian government’s failure to invest resources in the ongoing funding of this model jeopardises the safety and efficacy of family dispute resolution practice in family violence contexts, and compromises the hearing of the voices of family violence victims and their children. It argues that a resource intensive model of mediation – such as CFDR – is the minimum safety requirement for appropriate FDR practice in contexts where there is a history of family violence.
Rachael is a Professor in the Bond Law School, co-director of the Bond Dispute Resolution Centre and co-founder of the ADR Research Network. Her scholarship concerns dispute resolution, family law and domestic violence. Rachael is president of Women’s Legal Service and was Queensland Woman Lawyer of the Year in 2013.