Family Dispute Resolution is a confidential process and CRS will keep confidential everything said during all communications with me and all other parties during each stage. The Family Law Act 1975 places professional obligations on CRS staff and mediators, as Family Dispute Practitioners, to disclose certain communications in accordance with Commonwealth or State/Territory laws. There are essentially three exceptions to keeping confidentiality:
a. The first exception is when the staff and or mediators must disclose a communication which relates to actual or the potential for child abuse or kidnapping. This obligation is aimed at protecting a child from the risk of harm, whether it is physical or psychological.
b. The second exception where this obligation exists is where CRS may disclose a communication if CRS believes it is necessary for preventing, reporting or lessening:
- A threat to the life or health of any person
- Violence or a threat of violence
- A threat of damage to someone’s property
In the above two circumstances, the agencies to which CRS would consider reporting might include but are not limited to, the AFP, Child and Youth Protection Services, Youth Justice, Crisis Assessment and Treatment Team (for crisis mental health assistance).
CRS endeavours to discuss its requirements to report to another agency with me or the other party/ies concerned in the first instance. However, CRS’s decision to fulfil its legal obligations to report in the above circumstances will not be based on whether the party/ies give permission.
c. The third circumstance in which CRS may disclose a communication is where consent is given by the party/ies (and if the client is under 18, with the consent of both parents or a court). The instances where consent must be given prior to disclosure include the following:
- Assisting a lawyer representing a child’s interests under a court order;
- In certain circumstances, to provide information for research relevant to families;
- In arranging Child Inclusive Practice;
- When CRS requests permission to disclose information which may assist the mediation process at any stage.