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December 2014 Pathways Newsletter
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Seasons Greetings Pathways!


Welcome to the Christmas edition of the Pathways Newsletter and the final newsletter for 2015.

As with most services in the family law sector, winding up for the end of the year is always a very busy time for the SA Pathways Network. Since the last newsletter, we have been very active, including attending the Family and Relationships Services (FRSA) Conference held in Adelaide from 4-6 November. We were very pleased to attend the conference and promote SA Pathways through the Australian Institute of Social Relations booth. We also received positive feedback about the role of Pathways in South Australia. SA Pathways benefited greatly from being able to network and discuss relevant issues with a range of professionals in the family law system both from SA and interstate.

At the conference, Her Honour Chief Justice Diana Bryant of the Family Court mentioned SA Pathways' role in arranging a large cross sectoral meeting on 15 October 2014 with Judge Cole of the Federal Circuit Court in Adelaide and Pam Hemphill, Principal of Child Dispute Services at the Adelaide Family Law Courts on behalf of the Family Law Courts Children's Committee. We also hope to become further involved in a forming a new working group with the Committee to discuss the challenges of forming a possible pilot program in SA to involve children more broadly in the family law system.

As you are aware, 25 November 2014 also marked 'White Ribbon Day'. As such, we provide a number of links to articles about ending violence against women in this edition.

As always, Pathways welcomes any other suggestions or contributions to this newsletter, including showcasing any new or existing services in the community. To assist with this, below we provide further details about the number of ways in which you are able to keep in touch with SA Pathways to provide your welcome contributions, as well as some details about waiting and opening times for some family law services (including the Family Law Courts) over the Christmas and New Year break.

Finally, we would like to extend a big thank you to the supporters of the SA Pathways Network and we hope you enjoyed the thank you meeting held at the Family Law Courts on 3 December 2014.

We hope you have a safe and relaxing Christmas and New Year break. We look forward to working with you again in 2015.

In this issue:

More ways to keep in touch with the SA Pathways Network


You may recall that in the October edition of the newsletter, we were very excited to announce the release of our brand new website: www.pathwaysnetworksa.com.au. We are pleased to say that we have had great feedback about the website so far, including that it provides up to date information to service providers, is easy to navigate and is a valuable resource for legal and non-legal professionals working with separated or separating families in all areas of the family law system. Important information, such as the waiting times for family law services in SA, including Family Counselling, Family Dispute Resolution and Children's Contact Services, are available in the Resources section of the website and are updated regularly.

There have been further updates to the website since its launch, including an update of the Kiosk page and other general improvements to presentation. In the Latest News section, you can find information and fliers for upcoming events, which will be incorporated into a comprehensive event and courses calendar in the future. We are also working on creating a Professional Development page for both the legal and non-legal sectors, which will provide users with easy access to information about the latest courses and events of interest within their profession in the family law system.

We would again remind you to ensure you look around the website and if possible, provide your feedback so we can continue to improve the site for all Pathways members and the general public. To contact us or submit your feedback about the website, you can fill in the form on the Contact page. We value the input of our members and will consider suggestions in an effort to update the website in accordance with need.

In addition, you can now also contact the SA Pathways Project Officer directly via phone on
0407 317 376. It will no longer be necessary to call the Project Officer through the auspice agency, Relationships Australia (SA). The Project Officer will be able to take direct enquiries from the Court or from practitioners or any other interested party to find out information about family law services in SA at any time. This will be especially useful when there are urgent enquires from the Court or during times when the Pathways Kiosk is closed. The Project Officer will also be able to take calls during normal working hours. The number is 0407 317 376 and you are able to leave a message if required. The Project Officer will return your call as soon as practicable. The mobile phone number is also on the notice located on the door of the Pathways Kiosk, Room 1.42 at the Family Law Courts. Of course, for less urgent enquires, such as ordering brochures, it is still possible to contact the Project Officer via email, either r.earles@rasa.org.au or pathways@rasa.org.au.

Pathways members are also encouraged to join the SA Pathways Network LinkedIn Group, which provides members the opportunity to engage in discussions about family law issues and get the latest news and issues involving Pathways as they arise. There are a variety of posts already relating to the work undertaken by the SA Pathways Network so we would urge you to get involved.

We also hope to have a Facebook page up and running early in the new year and we will keep you posted as soon as this has been developed. There is also the possibility of developing a smartphone application for SA Pathways in the near future, so watch this space!

Important Message about changes to Intervention Orders

As many of you may be aware, there have been some recent changes to Police Intervention Orders.  

In Police v Siaosi [2014] SASC 131, the Supreme Court held that the words “in the vicinity of”, used to prohibit the defendant from approaching a place or person, are invalid. The effect of the judgement is not to make entire orders invalid, only the part of any clause that relies on the defendant being ‘‘in the vicinity of’’ a person/place.

Police Interim Intervention Orders (PIIO) and court issued intervention orders made after 2 October 2014 do not use the term “in the vicinity of”.  
    
There are however existing intervention orders which still contain the term.
 
SAPOL has published public information and advice to protected persons via their corporate website, SA Police News, Facebook, Twitter and has placed a public notice in the Advertiser. SAPOL staff should now be familiar with its contents so as to be able to interact professionally with domestic violence victims about intervention orders. 
 
Effective immediately, when a police officer interacts with protected persons regarding a breach of an intervention order, or any other issue related to an intervention order, they must check the order. Where it is found that an order contains the term “in the vicinity of”, police must discuss with the protected person the fact that the part of the clause relating to “in the vicinity of” is invalid and invite them to consider requesting SAPOL to lodge an application for variation of the order on their behalf. 
 
It must be noted that a court cannot vary an order (even just to amend “in the vicinity of” to the new words “be within x metres of the boundary of”) without first hearing from the defendant. Protected persons should understand that the whole order may be re-assessed in any variation proceedings. Protected persons may seek to vary other clauses in their orders and members should assess the appropriateness of the grounds to do this. To this end, advice can be sought from Family Violence Investigation Sections or country CIB members.          
 
When investigating reported breaches of an intervention order, SAPOL should give due consideration to whether the presence of a defendant ‘in the vicinity of’ a person or place could be considered intimidation or harassment (which generally appears as the first clause of an order).   
 
If the Police Interim Intervention Order or Court issued Intervention Order was issued PRIOR to 2 October 2014 and contains the words ‘in the vicinity of’, then:
  • The Supreme Court has found the term ‘in the vicinity of’ INVALID when written in Police Interim Intervention Orders and Court issued Intervention Orders.
Orders issued prior to 2 October 2014 may contain the term ‘in the vicinity of’.

In other words, if you are a Protected Person named in an Order this means:
  • You are STILL protected;
  • Your Police Interim Intervention Order or Court issued Intervention Order is STILL valid;
  • Only the term ‘in the vicinity of’ is invalid.
Your Order is specific to your individual circumstances. Other conditions listed in your Order will continue to protect you. 

Other VALID conditions that may be in the Order include:
 
Not to: 
  • assault, threaten, harass or intimidate the protected person(s);
  • follow or keep the protected person(s) under surveillance;
  • contact or communicate with the protected person(s) either directly, or indirectly in any way (including phone, letter, cards, SMS messages, e-mail, facsimile, Facebook, skype etc);
  • damage or interfere with the premises where the protected person(s) is staying, residing or is employed;
  • damage or take possession of personal property belonging to the protected person(s) and the following specified property;     
  • enter certain locations;
  • enter the boundary of any education or care facility attended by the protected person(s);
  • be in possession of the following weapon(s) or article(s) eg guns or knives;
  • publish on the internet or by any electronic means any material about the protected person(s) .                                 
Clients may need to check their orders to ensure it contains adequate protection conditions (as listed above) for their needs. They have the right to ask SAPOL to request a variation of the Order, however, the Court must hear from the defendant prior to varying an Order and the whole Order may be reassessed by a Magistrate.

Where can clients go for advice?

If a current Intervention Order needs to be varied they should contact:
  • The nearest Police Station with a copy of the Order; or
  • A dedicated Family Violence police officer.
If clients are Defendants in an Intervention Order?
  • The Order still remains valid;
  • They still must not breach the Order, or police will take action;
  • It is an offence to disobey any term of an Intervention Order. The maximum penalty for disobeying an Order is two years imprisonment;
  • They cannot ask the Court for a variation unless:
  • The Order has been in existence for more than 12 months and
  • The variation request is not frivolous or vexatious, and;
  • There has been a substantial change in relevant circumstances since the Order was issued or last varied.
Note: All Intervention Orders issued after October 2, 2014 DO NOT use the term ‘in the vicinity of’.  If your Order was issued after this date, you do not have to do anything.

Remember:
 
Domestic violence is a crime committed by people from all walks of life and police do not need a statement from a victim to make an arrest.
 
Police will not tolerate domestic violence and will take every action available to protect victims.
 
SAPOL provides timely contact, support and referral for assistance to domestic violence victims where patrols have arrested or reported the offender, irrespective of the level of risk.
 
Across the state, police work with other agencies such as Families SA, Housing, Corrections, Education, Health, Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Services, Victim Support Service and local domestic violence services to provide a coordinated response to domestic violence victims.
 
Police encourage anyone experiencing domestic violence to contact them immediately for assistance.
 
Whether it’s physical, sexual, emotional, psychological or economic abuse, domestic violence is a deliberate act and is rarely an isolated event. Over time, the violence tends to increase in frequency and severity. 
 
If you seek further information, please go to the SAPOL website.

Latest Notable Cases from The Family Law Book


Click here to find the Family Law Book's pick of notable cases published in the past month by AustLII (and the Family Court of WA) for subscribers to the Latest Notable Cases Package.

If you wish to consider subscribing to The Family Law Book’s Hard Copy or E-Book Packages, visit www.thefamilylawbook.com.au

Pathways has received consent to reproduce these case notes for professional needs. We acknowledge authorship of the case notes by The Family Law Book.

To Treat or not to Treat


In a speech delivered by Justice Steven Strickland, Judge of the Appeal Division and Chair, Law Reform Committee, Family Court of Australia at the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts 51st Annual Conference in May 2014, His Honour examined the Family Court's legal response about how to treat or not to treat to transgender young people.

Click here to read the speech in full. 

White Ribbon Messages


25 November marks White Ribbon Day, where a number of functions took place in SA and around Australia to highlight the need to end all forms of violence against women.

White Ribbon Day came about as a result of the UN General Assembly adopting the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women in 1994 which then also declared 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in 1999. White Ribbon Day also marks the commencement of the 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women, which concludes on 10 December, the International Human Rights Day to emphasize the explicit positioning of violence against women as a violation of human rights.

Here are a few samples of recent articles/papers discussing violence against women:
  • A new Parliamentary Library paper has been prepared: Domestic, family and sexual violence in Australia: an overview of the issues
    This research paper updates several previous Parliamentary Library publications on the levels of violence experienced by women in Australia. The paper includes an overview of research on the prevalence of domestic, family and sexual violence, at risk groups and the costs of violence against women to communities and to the economy. Limited comparisons of the levels of violence experienced by men and women are included where relevant. The paper also includes an overview of policy approaches designed to prevent violence against women.
  • The Chief of the Army also delivered an engaging speech in Adelaide at the White Ribbon Breakfast about how 'hero' worship of male figures in Australian society perpetuates violence against women. Click here to read the speech. 
Men are also encouraged to take the White Ribbon Oath. See the White Ribbon website for more information. 

Available Services and Opening Times Over Christmas/New Year Break


For many practitioners, in both the legal and non-legal sectors, the Christmas break can be a busy and problematic time of the year. It can be a time of the year in which disputes regarding children escalate or family violence becomes prevalent. Many clients seek urgent assistance even though few services are open or only have skeleton staff available to respond. It is also the time of the year in which it can take some considerable time to obtain a Court hearing. Below are a few survival tips to assist practitioners during this period.

Many people become highly distressed about not seeing their child/ren on Christmas Day. Unfortunately, for parties in dispute about children, arrangements for the Christmas/New Year break needed to made some time ago, if they have not already done so.

Many Children’s Contact Services are not open on Christmas Day. If a client wishes for a handover or visit on Christmas Day or New Years Eve, clients will need make other arrangements for handover, usually via their respective solicitors if they are represented, at another location.

Family violence can escalate over the Christmas/New Year break. If a client suggests concerns about safety and/or the safety of other family members, they should report this to the Family Violence Unit with SAPOL. In anticipation of some counselling or emergency services being closed or at capacity, it may also pay to assist a client to develop a safety plan in the event that they have to leave the residential home. Such plans may include:
  • Identifying people (close friends and family members) who will provide assistance and support;
  • Making arrangements/obtaining information about emergency housing services. Housing SA (13 12 99) can in some instances provide emergency accommodation;
  • If possible, suggesting they place some money aside for an emergency fund;
  • Discussing with Centrelink (13 10 21) about possible entitlements for financial assistance and/or obligations;
  • Suggesting that they prepare a short term ‘survival kit’ (suggested items to include below).
A short term 'survival kit' may include: 
  • A spare set of car and house keys
  • An emergency contact list/address book
  • Financial information (e.g. bank account details, bank cards, tax file number and latest tax assessment)
  • Identification papers (e.g. drivers license, passports, certificate of citizenship, birth certificates and marriage license)
  • Current medications
  • Medicare and health insurance cards
  • Mobile phone, laptop, iPad and chargers
  • Clothes and personal items
  • Basic food/essentials (such as formula for babies)
There are also other immediate services, such as the Domestic Violence Hotline (1800 800 098) or the Domestic Violence Crisis Service (1300 782 200 or 131 611) available to assist clients with safe emergency accommodation, referrals, counselling and advocacy.

Ordinarily, except in urgent or exceptional circumstances, parties who are in dispute about the care arrangements for children will be required to attend Family Dispute Resolution prior to any proceedings being brought before the Court. Over the Christmas and early January period, there is skeleton staff available at Family Relationship Centres. Most Family Relationship Centres will be closed from close of business 24 December 2014 and re-open on 29 December 2014 at 9:00am until 31 December 2014 at 5:00pm. Staff will be minimal until 5 January 2015.

Click here for details of major centres and approximate waiting times for Family Dispute Resolution in December 2014 and January 2015.

The Family Law Courts are also in slowdown mode over the Christmas break. The Practice Direction for the final day for filing proceedings in the Family Court is such that the Registry will normally accept applications up until the close of business Friday in the first week of November. The Federal Circuit Court continues to accept applications up until the Christmas break, but unless it is an urgent or exceptional matter, the first returnable date will likely be listed in early to mid-February 2015.
 
The Federal Circuit Court will not be sitting at full capacity until the week commencing the 26 January 2015. There will be a Judge on call during January 2015 for urgent matters. The Information and Referral Service which operates on duty days at the Family Law Courts and the Pathways Kiosk will also re-open on 26 January 2015.
 
The Adelaide Registry of the Family Law Court and the National Enquiry Centre will be open during the Christmas/New Year break (with minimal staff) with the exception of the following:
  • Thursday 25 December 2014
  • Friday 26 December 2014
  • Thursday 1 January 2015
  • Friday 2 January 2015
During this time, phone calls can be re-directed to the National Enquiry Centre :

Phone: 1300 352 000
Email: enquiries@familylawcourts.gov.au
TTY/voice calls: 133 677 (National Relay Service)
Speak & Listen Calls: 1300 555 727

In terms of clients accessing other family law services, please note the following opening and closure times :
  •  Legal Services Commission: All offices will be closed on Public Holidays only
  •  Centacare: Most sites will be closed on Public Holidays only
  •  Anglicare: Will be closed on Public Holidays only
  •  Relationships Australia: Most sites will be closed 24 December 2014 - 5 January 2015
  •  Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement: Closed 25 & 26 December 2014 and 29 December - 5 January 2015
  •  Southern Community Justice Centre: Closed from 19 December 2014 - 12 January 2015
  •  Northern Community Legal Service: Closed from 24 December 2014 - 5 January 2015
  •  Central Community Legal Service: Closed from 22 December 2014 - 5 January 2015
  •  Women's Legal Service: Closed from 1pm 24 December 2014 - 29 December 2014
  •  Family Relationships Centre (Port Augusta): Closed from 23 December 2014 - 5 January 2015
  •  Family Relationships Centre (Noarlunga): Closed from 24 December 2014 - 5 January 2015
  •  Family Relationship Centre (Adelaide): Closed from 24 December 2014 - 5 January 2015
Finally, Christmas can be a time of extra financial pressure for many people. Click here for a list of community services and other information about how to obtain access to support and food hampers, as well as a meal on Christmas Day.

Call for Submissions and Participation at 2015 Pathways Conference - 8 May 2015


On Friday 8 May 2015, the SA Pathways Network is holding a one day conference at the Hotel Chancellor on Hindley Street, Adelaide, tentatively titled "Complex Issues in Family Law".

We are calling for Pathways members to either submit papers or be prepared to participate in a panel discussion in the afternoon session of the conference, with the scope of presenting on any topic that would qualify as a 'complex' issue in family law. We would be particularly keen to hear from members who may not have necessarily presented at or participated in Pathways events before. The panel discussion will examine the perspectives of various interest groups who are affected by the family law system.

If you are interested in participating, we would love to hear from you! Please contact the SA Pathways Network Project Officer via r.earles@rasa.org.au.
Copyright © 2014 SA Family Law Pathways, All rights reserved.


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