The Columbus Pilot: Catalyst for an emerging model of an integrated Family Court system in Western Australia
Australian Institute of Family Studies
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Psychology
In July 2001 the Family Court of Western Australia in Perth commenced an innovative pilot project to individually case manage matters involving allegations of spousal violence, child abuse or sexual abuse, and family violence where there were significant risk issues. The Columbus Pilot project has acted as a catalyst for a number of changes as both the judicial officers and counselling service staff developed new skills and knowledge in this very difficult area of family litigation and dispute resolution.
Over the past 18 months there has been a gradual integration of various external support services and the Columbus process, with the result that a potential model of an integrated Family Court system is beginning to emerge. This article provides an overview of some of these developments and presents some ideas for future developments.