The Lighthouse Model is a risk assessment model- piloted in Adelaide, Brisbane, and Parramatta. The model targets risk of harm/ family violence caused by mental health, drug and alcohol abuse, child abuse and neglect. The model expanded to all major registries in Australia on 28 November 2022.

The model aims to support health and wellbeing of families and litigants by:

  • providing assistance and referrals to services at commencement of proceedings; and,
  • choosing the most appropriate case management pathway based on the risks in that case.

The model identifies risk through a ‘lighthouse screening’, which is both confidential and inadmissible. The steps of the screening are:

  • Determining Eligibility: any parenting / parenting and financial initiating applications filed on or after 28 November 2022. Applications filed prior are not eligible and cannot be retrospectively screened.
  • Invitation: invitation to complete risk screen sent to personal contact details of client.
  • Screening: three part screening, similar to DOORS screening, where clients self report needs and concerns by way of questionnaire. Practitioners should not fill the screening out on behalf of their clients so that the risk classification does not become skewed.
  • Triage: Triage counsellors may issue a safety and wellbeing plan by email, or may conduct triage interviews to strengthen safety and wellbeing, and identify appropriate referrals. Triage counsellors may refer a matter to the Evatt List Registrar.
    The model and screening has revealed that 76% of litigants have experienced family violence, with 60% of litigants screening in the highest risk category.

The model as a whole works to identify risk at the earliest possible opportunity, and tailor case management for each case. The Evatt List is a specialist list for Division Two matters with high risk screening. Placement on the list is determined by a Registrar, and of cases referred to the Registrar, 30% are placed on the Evatt List. Case Management varies for Evatt List matters in many ways as the list prioritises early information gathering and access to resources. 88% of Evatt List matters are finalised prior to final hearing. A Registrar may also consider transfer of these matters to Division One for placement on the Magellan List.