High-risk family violence screening in the court: The Evatt List

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By Cassandra Hayden, Lawyer

It is an unfortunate reality that family violence is highly prevalent in society.  The Australian Bureau of Statistics has reported that 41% of Australians have experienced family violence,[1] and that a significant portion of these victims are at high-risk and require immediate intervention and special measures. The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (“the Court”) have introduced the Evatt List, to assist with identifying cases that require immediate intervention as they enter the family court process.

What is the Evatt List?

The Evatt List is a pool of cases which have been identified by the Court as high-risk. The Court will address the needs of these cases and try to minimise any further risk to victims of family violence. The list is managed by Judicial Officers with specialist knowledge of the complexities of family violence and will assist the Court to expeditiously deal with these matters.

What does this look like in practice?

Once the case is placed on the Evatt List, the Evatt Judicial Registrar will assess the matter and make any urgent interim orders before your first court date. The Evatt Judicial Registrar takes a more inquisitive approach and will frequently review your case, investigate, and closely manage the parties’ compliance with Court Orders. The goal of the Evatt Judicial Registrar is to do all that can be done to allow the Court to make the most appropriate decision as soon as it can.

Your case will have its first court listing within approximately 6–8 weeks from when it was placed on the Evatt list, and some weeks later an interim hearing (if further urgent interim orders need to be made). The Final Hearing will usually be listed within approximately 12 months of the proceedings commencing. Throughout that 12-month period, your case will have specialist case management to identify any special needs of your case.

How can I get my case on the Evatt List?

The only way to have the Evatt Judicial Registrar review your case is if you complete the online risk screening questionnaire called the Family DOORS  Triage which will be emailed to you when you file an application or response seeking parenting orders, and the Court’s Triage Counsellor identifies your case as needing to be reviewed by the Evatt Judicial Registrar. The Triage Counsellor can identify immediate safety measures the Court should put in place when dealing with your case, such as safety plans. The Evatt Judicial Registrar will then determine whether your matter is a ‘high-risk’ matter and, if so, will then place your matter in the Evatt List. For more information about the Family DOORS Triage screening process, please see our article on this here.

What if my matter is not placed on the Evatt List?

Your case will be managed through the usual management pathway, and your lawyer will advocate on your behalf for available measures required to address any risks resulting from family violence.

How can we help?

As family lawyers, we are familiar with the complexities in family violence cases and the kind of advocacy and case management victims of family violence need to minimise the risks.

If you have any questions about the Evatt List, family violence, or family law generally, please do not hesitate to contact the Mills Oakley Family Law Team on 02 8289 5800.

Further resources on the Evatt List and for family violence victims

The Court has also published a detailed guide for parties in the Evatt List which can be found here.

If you, or someone you know, is a victim of family violence, please see the below support services:

  • If someone’s life is in danger, contact emergency services on 000 immediately
  • For 24/7 domestic violence counselling, call the National Sexual Assault, Family & Domestic Violence Counselling Line on 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).
  • Lifeline 13 11 14
  • MensLine Australia 1300 789 978.
  • Relationships Australia 1300 364 277.

[1] https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/crime-and-justice/personal-safety-australia/latest-release

For further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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