Bond University family dispute resolution students, together with experienced practitioners, will provide affordable dispute resolution and mediation services to families coping with the difficulties of separation, with the launch this week of the new Family Dispute Resolution Clinic.
The new initiative, the result of a collaboration between Bond University's Faculty of Law and its Psychology Clinic, will help families access dispute resolution services to resolve parenting arrangements, together with providing referrals to other experienced professionals to ensure parties receive the professional support, guidance and advice needed during what are often very challenging times.
Family Dispute Resolution Clinic co-director Libby Taylor said the new centre was focused on achieving the best possible outcomes for families and, in particular, the best interests of the children.
“The Clinic has been developed to assist families and children who are facing the challenges of separation and who need assistance in making both short and long-term parenting arrangements,” said Ms Taylor.
"The demand for this style of service is quite high, with families often forced to wait for some time for dispute resolution, which can make a stressful situation even more difficult.
“The students, under the guidance and supervision of accredited family dispute resolution practitioners, will work with these families to establish effective post-separation parenting arrangements, helping to reduce the negative effects of separation and conflict, particularly on children."
Ms Taylor said the Clinic would help address increased community demand for affordable dispute resolution and mediation services that could be readily accessed by families.
“We want to provide a safe and supportive environment, which meets the needs of the community, while providing our students with valuable experience so they are well equipped to deal with these complex issues when they become accredited family dispute resolution practitioners,” she said.
Psychology Clinic director Deborah Wilmoth said provisionally-registered psychologists, in conjunction with qualified staff, would provide support by helping identify psychological risk factors that might need to be addressed as part of family dispute resolution and mediation.
“The new clinic will provide clients with a ‘one-stop shop’, where they can access psychological support as part of the family dispute resolution assessment, rather than needing to seek help elsewhere,” said Ms Wilmoth.
“We will also be offering a dedicated course for parents who are going through separation to help them understand the impact it can have on children.”
The establishment of the Family Dispute Resolution Clinic follows the success of the Bond Law Clinic, which was founded in 2013 and offers free legal advice to start-ups, small businesses and
registered not-for-profit organisations. The Bond Law Clinic assists about 420 organisations each year.
The Psychology Clinic was formed in 1999, as a teaching facility to provide psychological services to the Gold Coast community.
The Family Dispute Resolution Clinic will be based at Bond University's Psychology Clinic, in the Legal Skills Building, and will open to the public on Saturdays. For further information contact 07 5595 2039 or [email protected]