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The Albury Wodonga Family Law Pathways Network e-bulletin is a bi-monthly newsletter to keep you informed about our activities and what is happening in the family law sector.
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Albury Wodonga FLPN news
Greetings from the Chair
By Sheri Moulton

Hello everyone and welcome to the Albury Wodonga FLPN Bulletin. It's lovely to finally see more sunshine and to feel the days getting warmer.

It has certainly been an out of the ordinary year in 2020. We could not have predicted what would unfold, or the impact that COVID-19 would have on our families and communities.
 
One of the main challenges for our collective workforce has been how to continue providing services to separating families in an environment of social distancing, reduced face to face contact, service restrictions and, to top it off, border crossing limitations. We have had to adapt to an increasing use of technology to communicate, hold meetings, attend training and provide flexible and accessible services. Easy for some, a little harder for others! Underpinning all of this has been the continuing focus on doing our best to assist separating families develop workable arrangements that achieve the best possible outcomes for all family members, especially the children.
 
Thank you all for your dedication to this work during the year and I hope that as we head towards the end of 2020 we can look forward to quite a different (good different) year in 2021! (Apologies to ALDI). 
Webinar with Dr Philip Stahl - Decision making in the future: Shedding the baggage of implicit and cognitive biases
Scientists have learned that neuropsychology, social cognition, and cultural factors affect decision-making. Two types of neuro-psychologically rooted bias can impact how we reason, infer and decide. Cognitive bias refers to heuristics, such as anchoring or confirmatory bias, which contribute to oversimplifying complex matters. Implicit bias refers to social attitudes that result in rapid, and involuntary assessments resulting from feelings and attitudes that operate out of our awareness or the lack of understanding of how people whose experiences are different may affect those inferences and decisions. This webinar will explore such biases and research-based debiasing strategies.

Learning objectives:
Attendees at this webinar will be able to:
  1. Understand and manage the threats to fairness, impartiality and neutrality in family law work
  2. Recognise the need to embrace complexity and consider all relevant family issues rather than a “single story”
  3. Manage the impact of our own values, experiences, and feelings when formulating conclusions and making recommendations and decisions in family law matters
About the speaker: Dr. Philip Stahl is a forensic psychologist in private practice, living in Maricopa County, AZ, who provides consultation and expert witness testimony in child custody litigation throughout the United States and North America. His primary area of specialty is relocation, including complex international relocations. Dr. Stahl conducts trainings throughout the United States and internationally for attorneys, child custody evaluators, judges, and others working with high-conflict families of divorce. He is on the faculty of National Judicial College in Reno Nevada, teaching domestic violence to judges since 2000, and he regularly speaks at state judicial colleges. He has been providing training through AU AFCC and other organisations in Australia since 2011.

Along with his teaching, Dr. Stahl has written extensively on high-conflict divorce and custody evaluations. He is the author of Conducting Child Custody Evaluations: From Basic to Advanced Issues, (Sage Publications, 2010) and Parenting After Divorce, 2nd Edition (Impact Publishers, 2008) and is co-author of Forensic Psychology Consultation in Child Custody Litigation: A Handbook for Work Product Review, Case Preparation, and Expert Testimony, (American Bar Association Section of Family Law, 2013).

His most exciting project has been his newest book, written with his daughter Rebecca Stahl, JD, LLM, titled, Representing Children in Dependency and Family Court: Beyond the Law, published by the ABA Family Law Section in June 2018.
When: Next Tuesday, 13 October 2020
Time: 1:00pm until 2:30pm
Where: Zoom webinar
Cost: Free
Contact: Please contact Kathryn Henderson if you have any queries.
Please note that a recording of this webinar will be made available to watch afterwards for registered participants.
Register Here
Webinar with Kate Fitz-Gibbon and JaneMaree Maher - The views of Australian judicial officers on domestic and family violence perpetrator interventions
Despite increasing acknowledgement of the importance of perpetrator interventions in the delivery of integrated responses to family violence and promoting perpetrator accountability, there remains very little understanding of how magistrates and other judicial officers view, manage and use perpetrator interventions. This presentation will present the findings for our ANROWS national project examining the use, influence and management of perpetrator interventions in sentencing of domestic and family violence offenders. Our analysis of interviews conducted with 60 judicial officers from across all Australian state and territory jurisdictions reveals that the effective use of perpetrator interventions in decision making is constrained by:

Limited judicial access to information about which (if any) perpetrator interventions have been previously used with a perpetrator,
• A lack of knowledge among judicial officers about perpetrator program referral options, in relation to both the availability and nature of programs available, and
• Uncertainty over the role of the judicial officers in holding perpetrators to account.

Each of these barriers to effective practice will be discussed alongside recommendations to support judicial officers and judicial practice moving forward. View the flyer here.

About the speakers:
Associate Professor Kate Fitz-Gibbon is Director of the Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre and an Associate Professor in Criminology in the Faculty of Arts, Monash University (Victoria, Australia). Kate conducts research in the field of family violence, femicide, criminal justice responses to family violence, and the impact of criminal law reform in Australia and internationally. Kate has advised on homicide law reform and family violence reviews in several Australian and international jurisdictions. In 2016 she was appointed to the Victorian Special Minister’s Expert Advisory Committee on Perpetrator Interventions and in 2018 she was appointed to the inaugural Board of Directors of Respect Victoria.

Professor JaneMaree Maher is an internationally recognised gender studies scholar with a focus on family lives and gender violence. Her research critically examines how social institutions such as families and the criminal justice system create gendered inequalities and inequities. Professor Maher is currently Associate Dean Academic Development in the Faculty of Arts and a key researcher within the Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre.
When: Tuesday, 20 October 2020
Time: 1:00pm until 2:30pm
Where: YouTube
Cost: Free
Registered participants will be emailed a link for the webinar and will also have access to a recording of the webinar for a period of time following the live stream. 
Register Here
Spotlight on a local service
Children's Contact Service - Upper Murray Family Care
About:                                 
The Children's Contact Service (CCS) at Upper Murray Family Care (UMFC) was established in 2000 and currently operates out of our purpose built premises, including separate entrances and indoor and outdoor play areas. The CCS is an affiliate member of the Australian CCS Association.

As part of UMFC's integrated Family Relationship Services, the CCS is co-located with our Parenting Orders Program team who deliver Building Better Bridges adult group work and children's Jigsaw program. 


Services:
The CCS provides a safe, child focused environment for children to establish or maintain a relationship with a parent or other significant person through supervised contact visits and a changeover service supported by experienced and qualified staff.

All families accessing the CCS for supervised contact are linked with a Family Counsellor to work on issues impacting on their co-parenting relationship and support their transition to self-management where it is safe to do so. Internal referrals to our Family Relationship Centre to engage in Family Dispute Resolution can also be facilitated. 


Referrals and wait times:
We accept Service Requests directly from clients on our central Intake number. 

Wait times vary depending upon demand and approximate times can be provided to clients at the time of Service Request.


Client eligibility and cost:
The CCS services the communities of Albury, Wodonga and surrounds. Clients may engage voluntarily or be court ordered.

Supervised contact: $200 per person for up to six months of service. Includes intake and assessment, information session, child orientation, supervised contacts and an allocated Family Counsellor for the duration of service.

Changeovers: $150 per person for 12 months of service. Includes intake and assessment, information session, child orientation and 12 months of changeovers. 

There is a reduced fee of 50% for Health Care Card or Concession Card holders or if income is less than $50,000 pa. 


Subpoenas of CCS case notes: $70 per subpoena
Reports (summary of CCS attendances): $400 per report

COVID-19 changes:
Our CCS has continued operating for face-to-face supervised contacts during the week throughout COVID-19 restrictions. We have COVID-safe protocols and screening in place to ensure the safety of clients and staff. We are also offering 'virtual visits' via Zoom where appropriate. Intake appointments are occurring via Zoom. 
 
Contact:
Phone: 02 6057 5399
Email: frs@umfc.com.au
Website: umfc.com.au

Address: 681 Young Street, Albury, NSW
Hours: The CCS is open for supervised contacts or changeovers on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and every second Saturday. 
Upcoming events and training
 
October 2020
Update of the first national study of child maltreatment in Australia webinar
Presented by DHHS and Tri-Peaks
Thursday 8 October (Today) at 1:00pm until 2:00pm
Cost: Free
Click here to register and for more information. 


MARAM collaborative practice online training - Beechworth
Presented by the Ovens Murray Family Violence Partnership
Monday 12 October and Wednesday 14 October at 9:30am until 12:30pm
Cost: Free
Click here to register and for more information. Alternative dates to attend the training are available and can be viewed here.


Decision making in the future: Shedding the baggage of implicit and cognitive biases webinar
Presented by the Albury Wodonga Family Law Pathways Network with guest speaker Dr Philip Stahl
Tuesday 13 October at 1:00pm until 2:30pm
Cost: Free
Click here to register and for more information. 


The views of Australian judicial officers on domestic and family violence perpetrator interventions webinar
Presented by the Family Law Pathways Network with guest speakers Associate Professor Kate Fitz-Gibbon and Professor JaneMaree Maher
Tuesday 20 October at 1:00pm until 2:30pm
Cost: Free
Click here to register and for more information. 


Keeping perpetrators 'in view' during the COVID restrictions webinar
Presented by the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria and the Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre 
Wednesday 21 October at 12:00pm until 1:30pm
Cost: Free
Click here to register and for more information. 


Webinar: Legal words for interpreters - Family law 
Presented by Legal Aid NSW
Friday 23 October at 11:00am until 12:00pm
Cost: Free
Click here to register and for more information.


Drafting effective family law affidavits webinar
Presented by the Law Institute of Victoria
Tuesday 27 October at 9:30am until 12:15pm
Cost: $240-$320
Click here to register and for more information. 
Family law local news
Family Relationship Services waiting times
Please note that the wait time is from the service request to the Intake appointment. 
Family Relationship Centre 
Currently, no face-to-face client appointments are occurring. Intake appointments are occurring via phone. 
Phone or video conference FDR sessions are being facilitated in suitably assessed cases.
The wait time is six weeks.
Children's Contact Service
The wait time for supervised contact is four to six months.
The changeover service will recommence in the coming weeks. The expected wait time is two to four weeks. 
Parenting Orders Program (POP)
The 2020 Parenting Orders Program flyer can be viewed here.
Service requests are being taken on an ongoing basis and Intake appointments are occurring via phone or Zoom.
Counselling is being delivered by phone and Zoom. 

Building Better Bridges program
This is a six week group program for separated parents in high conflict.
Term 4 begins on 3 November for 6 weeks on a Tuesday from 10am-12pm or 5:30pm-7:30pm.
The Term 4 program is being delivered via Zoom.

Children's Jigsaw program
This five week group program provides support and assistance to children of separated or divorced families.
The Term 4 Jigsaw program is cancelled due to COVID-19. 
Centacare South West NSW
The Centacare Term 4 timetable can be viewed here
Men's Referral Service
Men can now access two to six free telephone counselling sessions via the Men's Referral Service's new Brief Intervention Service. This is a good option for clients who do not have access to a men's behaviour change program or who are on a wait list. Clients can call the Men's Referral Service on 1300 766 491.
Albury Registry of the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court Circuit Weeks
23-27 November 2020                      Judge Mercuri
22-26 February 2021                        Judge Mercuri
17-21 May 2020                               Judge Mercuri
12-16 July 2021                               Judge Mercuri
13-17 September 2021                    Judge Mercuri
6-10 December 2021                       Judge McNab
Family law statewide and national news
Family law judges at breaking point, going from one 'horrific' case to the next
Written by Giselle Wakatama for ABC News
This article discusses the workload of family law judges and the delays in the Family Law Courts.
Click here to read the article. 


New family law arbitration list proving to be a timely and cost effective way of resolving property disputes 
Media release by the Family Court of Australia
This media release discusses the National Arbitration List, which commenced in June this year.
Click here to read the media release.


NSW Labor proposal could see domestic violence perpetrators jailed for up to 10 years for coercive control
Written by Stephanie Boltje for ABC News
This article discusses a proposed bill to criminalise coercive control in NSW. 
Click here to read the article. 
Family law resources and research
The new normal in family law: Current inquiries, reforms and the future 
Women's Legal Service NSW
In this seminar, panelists Catherine Spain, Dr Felicity Bell and Deena Palethorpe discussed the current and recent family law inquiries and considered the question - where to from here?
Watch the seminar here or read the summary


NSW Risk, Safety and Support Framework: A guide for responding to men who use domestic and family violence - Part 1: Foundations and key concepts for effective practice
No To Violence
This resource outlines the evidence base and fundamental concepts to guide any practice with men who use domestic and family violence.
View the resource here.


An overview of child participation: Key issues for organisations and practitioners
Emerging Minds
This paper provides an overview of children's participation in decision-making processes.
View the paper here


Research brief: The criminalisation of coercive control 
Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre
This resource discusses the criminalisation of coercive control in Australia and other countries. 
View the research brief here.


Technology tips to optimise your virtual hearing/electronic ADR experience
Family Court and Federal Circuit Court of Australia
View the tip sheet here
If you have any content that you would like featured in our next e-bulletin or have some general feedback, please email us. 
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