Relationships Australia Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) Outcomes Study

Relationships Australia (RA) is undertaking a national research project designed to generate evidence on the outcomes and efficacy of RA FDR services, in both parenting and property disputes. The study will identify variables that contribute to effective FDR outcomes, as well as the barriers to reaching durable agreements.

A major component of this study is a nationwide survey of FDR clients. Clients will be recruited from seven states and territories to participate in the study. These participants will complete a survey prior to commencing FDR, as well as follow-up surveys approximately 3 months and 12 months after commencing FDR. Clients will answer questions about their wellbeing, the wellbeing of their children and their relationships with their former partners (including any experience of abuse), as well as their post-separation arrangements, issues for resolution and progress towards parenting and/or property agreements.

The RA FDR Outcomes Study is jointly managed by RA Victoria and RA Queensland. If you would like more information about the study, please contact:

Dr Genevieve Heard
Senior Researcher
Relationships Australia Victoria
Ph: (03) 8573 2216
Email form

Dr Aditi Lohan
Senior Research Officer
Relationships Australia Queensland
Ph: (07) 3423 6904
Email form

Project updates

December 2018

The collection of Time 3 survey data is now complete. This was the final quantitative data collection for the Study. A total of 744 clients from around Australia participated at T3. We thank all participants for their valuable contribution to this research.

Time 3 interviews for property clients are also complete. Over 100 interviews were conducted with a subsample of survey participants who cited property disputes at their intake appointments, whether or not they progressed to joint FDR.

Qualitative data collection continues with Time 3 interviews for parenting clients. These will continue into January 2019. For participants who initiated FDR for parenting disputes, we are speaking to participants who had an agreement (full or partial) arising from joint FDR at RA.

Analysis including Time 3 data will commence in January 2019. Initial findings from this study will be presented at the National Mediation Conference in April 2019.

June 2018

The collection of Time 2 survey data was completed in April 2018. Approx. 800 participants completed the second questionnaire, giving a response rate of 46% among those who participated in the first survey. Preliminary analysis of these data has begun.

The collection of Time 3 survey data (12-month post-intake follow-up) has now commenced in all participating states and territories. This will continue until November 2018.

The study design also incorporates semi-structured interviews with a subsample of participants to further investigate their experiences and perceptions of the dispute resolution process. A sample of participants with parenting disputes has already been contacted for interviews, which will continue over the Time 3 data collection period (June to November 2018). Selected participants with property disputes will also be contacted for interviews over the Time 3 data collection period.

December 2017

Participant recruitment for the RA FDR Outcomes Study has now finished in all states. Approximately 1,700 FDR clients from around the country agreed to participate by completing the first (Time 1) survey.

Members of the research team have now commenced follow-up (Time 2) surveys by email or phone, depending on client preference. So far, we have collected nearly 200 Time 2 responses.

Many thanks to all participants for their valuable contribution!

July 2017

Recruitment has now commenced at RA centres in the ACT, Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory. Each state and territory will continue to collect responses for a period of three months.

    Relationships Australia State and Territory websites