A new Notice of risk form has been released for use in the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court.
The new form is called ‘Notice of Child Abuse, Family Violence or Risk’. It harmonises the approach taken to risk notification in parenting matters. It is intended to assist in ensuring that families receive appropriate and targeted intervention within the family law system.
The new form replaces and consolidates the three previously prescribed forms, being:
- Notice of Risk,
- Notice of Child Abuse, Family Violence or Risk of Family Violence (Current Case), and
- Notice of Child Abuse, Family Violence or Risk of Family Violence (Application for Consent Orders).
The new form must be completed by all parties filing an Initiating Application, Response or Application for Consent Orders where a parenting order is sought from 31 October 2020.
Applications that are part completed but have not yet been lodged for filing on the Commonwealth Courts Portal by 31 October 2020 will also need to have the new form completed.
If an allegation of child abuse or family violence, or risk of same, is made in the Notice then an affidavit must be filed setting out the evidence on which the allegation is based. In the Federal Circuit Court, this may be done within the affidavit filed with the Initiating Application or Response.
The Notice must be served on all other parties and any other relevant person as outlined in the form. The Notice of Risk should be eFiled where possible using the Commonwealth Courts Portal.
The new form enables a Judge or Registrar to consider multiple risk issues in addition to child abuse or family violence, at an earlier stage in proceedings. Multiple risk issues include mental health, substance abuse and threats of harm. The Notice will be referred to the relevant child welfare agency where appropriate.
This form is available on the matter plan of the By Lawyers Family Law – Children publication. The commentary has been updated to include some practical information on the use of the form.