Introducing the Family Law DOORS

The DOORS is a three part framework that assists separating parents and family law professionals to detect and respond to both wellbeing and safety risks.

  • The DOORS training videos show how the framework is used in two family law settings
  • In Australia, the handbook containing software and instructions for use can be obtained by contacting FLSIsection@ag.gov.au
  • For people outside of Australia, you can purchase the handbook and software by clicking here

Dr. Jennifer McIntosh of Family Transitions and Dr. Claire Ralfs of Relationships Australia (SA) have developed an empirically based standardised front line screening framework called the Family Law DOORS (Detection of Overall Risk Screen).  This framework has been reviewed and refined by researchers and senior practitioners, both across Australia and internationally.

In contrast to specific domestic violence screens, the DOORS takes a broad definition of risk, covering adult, infant and child wellbeing, conflict and communication, parenting stress, and collateral stressors, encouraging the practitioner to evaluate the contribution of all these factors to imminent personal and interpersonal safety risks.

What the DOORS offers

  • Support for cross-disciplinary understanding of factors that combine to create a climate of elevated risk for families in the family law system
  • A common screening framework that can be used across multiple services in the family law arena
  • A tool for systematically identifying multiple risks at the client’s point of entry into the service, including being at risk of physical or psychological harm, or of perpetrating harm.  In the case of infants and children, the tool screens for developmental harm
  • Associated response planning resources
  • An annotated risk assessment resource list for specialist follow up
  • A software program to streamline analysis

The Family Law DOORS. Copyright © Commonwealth of Australia 2012 and Family Transitions 2011, as detailed here.