A4.1 Mediating with Rainbow Families


Donna Plavljanic
Relationships Australia Victoria

Adrien March
Relationships Australia Victoria

Tuesday 16 May 2023

Time: 1:30pm – 2pm

Room: Room 8

A4.1 Relationship breakdown and re-partnering

Mediating with Rainbow Families


The term Rainbow Families refers to a family with parents of the same sex bringing up a child, or an LGBTQA+ parented family. Rainbow families, like all families, come in all shapes and sizes. They include same-sex families and gender-diverse families.

Relationships Australia Victoria (RAV) identified an increased demand for access to mediation services for Rainbow Families over the previous few years.

This has included separating rainbow couples, separating couples where one party has come out as LGBTIQA+, decision-making and support with parents of queer children, and diverse family formation.

RAV has created an education program focused on the development of professional skills, knowledge and awareness in mediating with Rainbow Families.

These workshops are focused on expanding knowledge of the kind of reflective practice required to work with Rainbow Families, promoting awareness of diverse family structures and family formation, developing increased confidence with appropriate pronoun use, providing knowledge of LGBTIQA+ specific family law and furthering skills and strategies for creating a safe and welcoming environment for Rainbow Families.

This session will explore the process of the development of the program, an overview of the program content, and the need for the creation of these development sessions. It provides some early learnings and anecdotal feedback around the initial delivery of these programs.

The session will also explore the next stage of development in this workshop series, and the further gaps that require development in the sector, when working with Rainbow Families.


Donna Plavljanic is the Senior Manager, Training and Development at Relationships Australia Victoria. Donna Plavljanic has led training and education teams for the past 6 years, with a background in working across the corporate and not for profit sector. She is a qualified coach, leadership facilitator and mentor and has led team and projects for over 20 years. She has led policy and advocacy teams and strategies for over 10 years and worked alongside government agencies and regulators. Her current role has included the development and delivery of primary prevention programs across the community services and legal sectors.

Adrien March is an FDRP with a broad base of skills and experience, including mediation practice, training and dispute resolution research. Her practice experience covers mediating using facilitative and transformative models in the FDR and National Mediation Accreditation System (NMAS) schemes. Adrien’s specialisations include working with rainbow families and high-conflict disputes. Her training expertise includes course development and conducting FDR and NMAS training, coaching and evaluation for RAV and other organisations.