Separated same-sex parents’ experiences and views of government funded family relationship centres

Presentation Type: Panel
Conference Stream: Intersections
Presenter: Luke Gahan
Presentation Title: Partnerships in HIV testing to raise MSM awareness of HIV testing in regional NSW
Room: Swan
Program schedule: Friday 14 August 2015 at 16:00
Duration: 15 mins


In 2006 the Australian Government introduced The Family Law Amendment (Shared Parental Responsibility) Act 2006 (Cth) which among other reforms to the family law system, it introduced 65 Family Relationship Centres (FRCs) across Australia. These government funded centres provide family dispute resolution, also referred to as mediation, and offer separating families information, advice, groups sessions with the focus of enabling separating families to achieve workable parenting arrangements outside the Court system.

This presentation presents findings from a qualitative study with people who had separated from a same-sex partner after having children within that relationship. In-depth interviews were conducted with parents in Melbourne, regional Victoria, Brisbane, Sydney, and Adelaide..

Separated same-sex parents reported mixed feelings towards the Government funded Family Resolution Centres. Only one participant reported attending a FRC and being satisfied with their experience. The remainder of participants either did not attend a FRC, or went to a one and were not satisfied.

Participants who did not contact or attend FRC’s came to their decision as a consequence of a negative perception of service providers and/or as a result of their perception that these services were not targeted or available for same-sex couples. Those that attended but were not satisfied reported disappointment at heternomative services; a lack of knowledge of same-sex relationships and parenting; and service providers who were either uncomfortable with the same-sex parent and/or treated the couple as a “novelty”.

Presentation slides (PDF)