On 9 May 2014, the South Australian Family Law Pathways Network hosted an all-day forum for approximately 100 delegates at the Australian Institute of Social Relations.
The theme of this year’s forum was ‘The Child’s Voice’, in which a number of speakers from a cross section of the family law sector participated. The forum was formally opened by Dr Susan Cochrane, Adviser to the Attorney General on issues of family law. Delegates heard presentations from Justice David Berman of the Family Court (Adelaide Registry); Barrister Graeme Hemsley; Dr Jamie Lee, psychologist at Relationships Australia (SA); Clare Swetenham, Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner at Centacare; Stewart Bruinsma, Social Worker and Private Family Report Writer; and Helen Francis of the Australian Centre of Child Protection. Each presenter provided their view about the role of children in the ‘adult based’ family law system in their area of expertise.
During the lunch break, delegates were provided an opportunity to take a guided tour of the Hindmarsh Children’s Contact Service.
In the afternoon, a panel of experts addressed the theme of ‘The Child’s Voice’ using a case study. The audience listened to a panel of guest speakers working on a hypothetical case scenario, facilitated by Ric Trevaksis, Regional Co-ordinator of Child Dispute Services at the Family Law Courts. Members of the panel included:
- Judge Alexandra Harland from the Federal Circuit Court (Darwin)
- Jacqui Beall, Family Consultant, Family Law Courts
- Dr Jamie Lee, Psychologist, Relationships Australia (SA)
- Rob Winter, Independent Children’s Lawyer, Legal Services Commission
- Theresa Clark, FDR Practitioner, Relationships Australia (SA)
- Ryan Thomas, Solicitor, Andersons Lawyers
- Alicia Furman, Solicitor, (David Burrell & Co) & Deputy Chair of the Family Law Committee
- Robin Howard, Anglicare, Kids are First program
- Kathy Jones, Child Specialist, Relationships Australia (SA)
The forum was sold out and again proved to be very successful. Pathways SA extends a big thank you to the presenters and the delegates who attended, and looks forward to hosting another successful event in 2015.