2016 Annual Forum

Annual Forum 2016- “Men and Families in a Family Law Context”

The SA Family Law Pathways Network hosted its major annual event, ” Men and Families in a Family Law Context’ at the Adelaide Pavilion in Veale Gardens on 6 May 2016.Pathways Forum Photo 5

The Forum is an annual event which encourages professionals who work across the broader family law sector in South Australia to network and learn from each other about the various complex issues which are encountered in family law.

The 2016 Annual SA Family Law Pathways Network Forum was sold out and again was competently mc’ed by Graham Russell, Chair of the SA Family Law Pathways Network and Manager, Family Law Division, Legal Services Commission.

The morning then featured a very entertaining Welcome to Country by Mikey O’Brien in the first instance, followed by an opening from Judge Charlotte Kelly of the Adelaide Federal Circuit Court, who again acknowledged the great work across all parts of the wider family law profession to ensure safety for women and children.

The next two morning sessions featured our key note presenter, Simon Santosha, who spoke eloquently about the challenges faced by men following separation and the personal and professional challenges for those who work with men in this space.

The workshop explored the complexities of male interpersonal relationships and how masculine socialisation, attachment, trauma and gender differences impact on men who are dealing with separation, divorce and co-parenting.

The workshop equipped participants with the knowledge and practical skills to engage and work with separated fathers more effectively in their programs, services and groups, focusing on:

  • Examining male interpersonal relationships – insights from masculine psychology/neuroscience to understand why men do the things they do in intimate relationships and during separation and divorce.
  • Impact of men’s mental health/masculine depression on relationships.
  • Dealing with grief and loss during separation and divorce. Understanding men’s reactive and/or disconnecting behaviours and barriers to moving on and seeking help.
  • Strength-based approaches when working with separated fathers – what they are and why they are so effective.
  • Developing respectful co-parenting relationships and positive father-child relationships.
  • Maximising the effectiveness of referral and support networks for separated fathers.

For those who missed the Forum, a copy of the PowerPoint presentation delivered by Simon is provided here.

The delegates were highly engaged with the workshop and asked multiple and multi-layered questions, which meant we all had a bit of a late lunch! Pathways Photo 4

Following the lunch break, a Panel featuring George Garcia from Anglicare; Terry Callahan from Uniting Communities and Leonard Lester from the Port Augusta Family Relationship Centre finished the day with some professional and personal anecdotes which were powerful and insightful from their practice working with men.

Finally, Dr Susan Cochrane, Senior Advisor to the Attorney General closed the day, noting the great work being undertaken by South Australia within Pathways and the sector in general.

The SA Family Law Pathways Network received overwhelmingly positive feedback about the day and appreciates the ongoing support and commitment to this annual event and all of its other projects.

The flyer for the Annual Forum can be accessed here