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Introduction of Family Law DOORS best practice universal risk-screening

RANSW began using the Family Law DOORS[1] evidence-based risk screening tool in our Children’s Contact Centres in 2017. In July 2018 we introduced the App version administered via IPad, to our six Family Relationship Centres and RANSW mediation services in 5 sites.

In our formal evaluation of the introduction of DOORS we found clients accepted the screening questionnaire, seeing its benefits to them, and usefulness in discussion with their practitioner. We have improved our service by integrating the tool into our intake processes, ensuring consistent, best practice universal risk screening and early response.

While DOORS is intended for individual clinical use, we have recently analysed over 2,500 completed questionnaires to better understand the volume and complexity of risks presenting to our Family Law services. These data confirm domestic violence, suicidality, distress and fear are common experiences for many families attending Family Law Services and Children’s Contact Centres.

We use this aggregated information internally for training and practice improvement, supporting staff to continuously build capability to identify and assist clients at risk.

We are keenly awaiting translated versions of the tool and looking at how our practice can enhance its accessibility for clients with language and literacy barriers, or specific cultural considerations.

[1] McIntosh, J. E., and Ralfs, C. (2012). The DOORS Detection Of Overall Risk Screen Framework. Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department Canberra.


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