FRSA Telepractice Report released

FRSA released its report, The use of Telepractice in Family and Relationship Services: A Focus Group Exploration, at the FRSA National Conference 2022.

The report builds on earlier work conceptualised by FRSA and the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) and undertaken by AIFS:

  • A scoping review of evidence on the use of telepractice in family and relationship services, which was published in May 2021
  • A survey undertaken by AIFS with FRSA members, to understand their experience of using telepractice during COVID. The survey report was published in November 2021.

The third piece of work undertaken by FRSA sought to build on the findings of the survey report looking in more detail at the suitability and practice implications of telepractice across the different programs administered under the Department of Social Services Families and Children Activity.

In November-December 2021, we held 12 focus group sessions with a total of 80 participants – program managers and practitioners – from the FRSA membership. Their insights were invaluable, and we are very grateful to all who participated.

Through our focus group exploration, we sought to respond to the question: In what circumstances is telepractice a safe and suitable mode of service delivery?

Of particular note, focus group participants told us that the use of telepractice must be client-led and the client’s suitability to engage in telepractice must be determined through a robust assessment process that includes an appraisal of safety risks. The client’s preference and the client’s best interests should guide the use of telepractice.

Telepractice is perceived to deliver comparable (sometimes better) transactional outcomes – that is, outcomes involving the exchange/transfer of information, knowledge and support and/or the negotiation of tangible outcomes such as property division following separation.

However, telepractice is perceived to deliver transformative outcomes – that is, enduring therapeutic outcomes such as shifts in self-awareness, self-concept and agency – less successfully.

For a full outline of research findings and insights we encourage you to read the report.