Family DOORS App

Built from the original Family Law DOORS (McIntosh 2011), the Family DOORS App is an evidence-based universal screening framework for keeping families safe.

This new app is designed to assist professionals to detect and evaluate risks before they escalate, and supports the development of a tailored response.

The app can be used by all helping professionals, including family law practitioners, counsellors, psychologists and social workers.

The Family DOORS App allows:

  • a parent to self-complete the screening tool, and
  • a fully automated report to be generated for the professional, with tailored follow up prompts.

Family DOORS screening tool

The original Family Law DOORS screening tool (McIntosh, 2011) was created by Professor Jennifer McIntosh, Director of Family Transitions. The DOORS screening tool is a three-part framework that assists separating parents and helping professionals to detect and respond to both well-being and safety risks. Professor McIntosh piloted earlier versions of this screening tool with Relationships Australia SA.

In contrast to specific domestic violence screens, the DOORS takes a broad definition of risk, covering adult, infant and child well-being, conflict and communication, parenting stress, and collateral stressors, encouraging the practitioner to evaluate the contribution of all these factors to imminent personal and interpersonal safety risks

What the DOORS offers:

  • Support for cross-disciplinary understanding of factors that combine to create a climate of elevated risk for families
  • A common screening framework that can be used across multiple services
  • A tool for systematically identifying multiple risks at the client’s point of entry into the service, including being at risk of physical or psychological harm, or of perpetrating harm. In the case of infants and children, the tool screens for developmental harm
  • Associated response planning resources
  • An annotated risk assessment resource list for specialist follow up
  • A Family DOORS App to streamline analysis

The DOORS tool can be completed via the Family DOORS App, on paper or a mixture of the two.

Family Law DOORS E-Handbook

The Family Law DOORS screening tool is complemented by the Family Law DOORS E-Handbook. This E-Handbook, written by Professor Jennifer McIntosh (Family Transitions) and Dr Claire Ralfs (CEO, Relationships Australia SA and Director, Australian Institute of Social Relations) (McIntosh & Ralfs, 2012), supports practitioners in using the DOORS screening tool. The e-Handbook provides a review of the evidence underpinning DOORS, including the ten risk domains for which the tool screens. It also provides information regarding follow-up response tools and decision-making support, and discusses effective strategies for engaging clients in relation to risk evaluation and response.

Click here to learn more about the authors of the Family Law DOORS and the Family DOORS App.

The Family Law DOORS. Copyright © Commonwealth of Australia 2012 and Family Transitions 2011, as detailed here.