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Family Matters No. 77 - December 2007

Evaluation of the family law reform package

Abstract

Family law was significantly reformed in 2006 in Australia, with the main intentions of promoting child-centred practices and fostering cooperative dispute resolution by families. The law reform included new legislation, revamped court processes, and expanded services including the network of Family Relationship Centres. This article describes the Australian Institute of Family Studies' forthcoming evaluation of the family law reform package. The evaluation will examine the response of the legal system, the work of the new services (the 'Services Provision project'), and the impact on families (including the 'Separated Families Project'). This article also includes the report 'Magellan Project Evaluation 2006-2007: a brief overview of the methodology', by Daryl Higgins, which summarises the methodology used by the Institute in evaluating the Family Court of Australia's Magellan case management system for cases involving allegations of child abuse.

Family law was significantly reformed in 2006 in Australia, with the main intentions of promoting child-centred practices and fostering cooperative dispute resolution by families. The law reform included new legislation, revamped court processes, and expanded services including the network of Family Relationship Centres. This article describes the Australian Institute of Family Studies' forthcoming evaluation of the family law reform package. The evaluation will examine the response of the legal system, the work of the new services (the 'Services Provision project'), and the impact on families (including the 'Separated Families Project'). This article also includes the report 'Magellan Project Evaluation 2006-2007: a brief overview of the methodology', by Daryl Higgins, which summarises the methodology used by the Institute in evaluating the Family Court of Australia's Magellan case management system for cases involving allegations of child abuse.

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