When might contact be supervised?
- In the case of an agreement, formal or informal, between the relevant parties; this includes agreements reached through family dispute resolution processes
- In the case of a court order, made with all parties’ consent
- In the case of an order made following a determination by a Judge or Magistrate
- In the case of a need to assess interactions between child and family, to assist with court processes
- In the case of significant safety concerns for the child, such as possible harm or abduction, requiring a high level of control and oversight of the parents or others participating in the contact
- In the case of concerns relating to family (domestic) violence
- In the case of a breakdown in the parent-child relationship, which needs to be gradually rebuilt
Supervised Contact usually takes place at our child-friendly Contact Centre. The Australian Children’s Contact Services Association (ACCSA) promotes the use of Contact Centres and so do we. In our experience, contact is most enjoyable for children, when it takes place at our Centre.
The degree of risk and the level of supervision required are factors in choosing a between our centre-based facility, or in considering alternative venues. In some cases, a neutral venue may be advised – that is, one which does not hold significant emotional meaning for any of the parties involved.
Supervised Contact should always take place in a safe, child-appropriate space, chosen for its suitability for encouraging positive, distraction-free interactions.
We provide Supervised Contact Services off-site, where appropriate, in accordance with Court Orders and/or the consent of both parents.
In considering alternatives to Centre based Contact, the needs and best interests of the child must always be kept uppermost in the decision-making process; this should include cultural considerations, the nature of the relationships between the child and family members, and physical safety issues. Suitable environments can include parks, cafés or other recreation-type facilities.
Glass House Mountains
Levels of Supervision
Information provided by parents during Intake helps determine:
- the number of supervisors required
the appropriate frequency and length of visits
- the necessary proximity of supervisor(s) for observing interactions
- Whether more than one family can attend the Centre at the same time
- Suitability of offsite visits
- Whether a parent can feed an infant or change a nappy
- Whether extra restrictions are needed
Please note: during the initial contact visit, two Contact Supervisors will apply a high level of vigilance, regardless of referral requests.
Because risk factors vary, each family differs in the level of supervision they need. Based on our assessments and concerns and requests of parents, we determine the appropriate degree of vigilance for Supervised Contact.
In assessing risk, we consider:
- Actual or alleged incidents of violence or abuse
- History or justifiable fears concerning possible abduction
- The child’s needs
- The child’s relationship with the non-residential parent
- Any concerns regarding a non-residential parent’s mental health; alcohol and/or other drug use; their understanding of their child’s needs, and; the ability to cooperate