FDR practitioners working in the FRC system: issues and challenges

Pamela J. Henry, Edith Cowan University
Karine Hamilton, Edith Cowan University

This article was originally published as: Henry, P. J., & Hamilton, K. (2011). FDR practitioners working in the FRC system: issues and challenges. Australasian Dispute Resolution Journal, 22(2), 103-110. Original article available here

Abstract

The recent establishment of Family Relationship Centres (FRCs) and compulsory alternative dispute resolution for separating families in Australia has given family dispute resolution (FDR) practitioners working in the FRC system considerable responsibility in the management of family separation. This article reports on the experience of FDR practitioners working in an FRC in Midland, Western Australia. Interviews with the practitioners revealed that they faced a variety of issues and challenges in their roles including the handling of "high-conflict" cases and screening for domestic violence. The other key concern raised by the practitioners was how to make FDR more relevant and accessible to marginalised communities, such as Indigenous people, grandparents, and step-parents.