Issues and barriers to the provision of FDR in prison

Document Type

Journal Article


Lawbook Co.


Faculty of Business and Law


School of Law and Justice / Sellenger Centre for Research in Law, Justice and Social Change




Henry, P. J., & Hamilton, K. (2013). Issues and barriers to the provision of FDR in prison. Australasian Dispute Resolution Journal, 24(3), 195-200. Available here


Reforms to the family law system in Australia have encouraged parents to attempt family dispute resolution (FDR) before approaching the court and to consider the right of children to have meaningful relationships with both parents. FDR occurs in a national network of family relationship centres (FRC) strategically placed in a range of geographical locations. This article reports on the findings of research into the extension of a Western Australian-based FRC service to a group of atypical clients: prisoners. Western Australian is the only State or Territory which offers FRC services to prisoner clients. Interviews with prisoners who had used the FRC service and with staff involved in its administration revealed that the FDR goal of maintaining meaningful relationships with both parents post-separation involves unique challenges for families with an incarcerated parent, specifically due to the high prevalence of family violence concerns.