Court Support 4 Kids
This project evaluates a program that supports women who come to court seeking Family Violence Intervention Orders while accompanied by their children. This page includes the project's two final publications: a Needs Assessment and an Evaluation.
Many women who come to court to seek FVIOs are forced to bring their children with them, for practical, safety, and other reasons. However, most courts are ill-equipped to support these women and their children during the court process. The Court Support 4 Kids program runs in three Victorian courts, providing a worker at court whose sole purpose is to engage with children onsite, enabling their mother to participate in the court process.
The CIJ was engaged by McAuley Women’s Services to evaluate the effectiveness of the Court Support 4 Kids program. Within this project, the CIJ conducted a separate Needs Assessment, to identify the needs of women who come to court seeking Intervention Orders and who bring their children to court with them. The Evaluation component then assessed the extent to which the Court Support 4 Kids program meets some of these needs.
Overall, the research explored the multiple reasons why women need to bring their children with them; what the impacts on the process are when they do, including on interactions with service and legal practitioners; why children are currently prohibited by legislation from being brought into court and what services are there to help address these needs. The Evaluation then makes recommendations for improvements to the Court Support 4 Kids program which can extend its benefits to other families around the state.