Letter: Counselling work and the Family Court

Last updated 12:00 20/06/2012

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OPINION: Paying the price for domestic disputes (Editorial, June 15) rightly concludes that children should be at the centre of the process in matters before the Family Court and that a Family Court hearing should surely be a last resort.

That's why an accessible dispute-resolution service must remain to prevent disputes escalating into a formal court hearing. Our organisation has provided Family Court counselling for thousands of families for the past 30 years with most cases being settled without resort to court action.

More than half our clients, who took part in a recent survey, said their problems would have worsened, with a more severe impact on their children, had they not attended Family Court counselling.

Because they have free access to such counselling, about 80 per cent of cases lodged with the court don't end up in the courts.

Making it harder to gain access to a dispute-resolution service that includes counselling can result only in more cases before the court and more costs in other areas of government spending.

FRAN HOOVER

Chief executive,

Relationships Aotearoa

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