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Becoming a family dispute resolution practitioner

While changes to the AQF are expected in 2015, the department will continue to accept the Vocational Graduate Diploma as suitable for accreditation.

A family dispute resolution (FDR) practitioner is an independent person who helps people affected by separation or divorce to resolve their parenting disputes.

To be called an FDR practitioner you must meet the accreditation standards in the Family Law (Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners) Regulations 2008, which includes having been assessed as competent in units that involve screening and assessing families for family violence and child abuse.

This department manages the accreditation of FDR practitioners in Australia and is able to provide information about the operation of the Regulations.

If you are already an accredited practitioner and need more information visit the Information for family dispute resolution practitioners page.

You can find more information about services and advice for families at the Family Dispute Resolution website.

Applying for accreditation

Once you have gained relevant qualifications and competencies and you meet the other accreditation criteria, you can apply to this department for accreditation.

Complete the form below when you are ready to apply.

The fact sheet on accreditation has more information on the process:

Once you become accredited you are required to meet specific obligations under the Regulations.

More information about obligations and general practice standards can be found on the Information for family dispute resolution practitioners page.

Accreditation standards

The criteria for accreditation include:

  • having appropriate qualifications and competencies
  • having access to a suitable complaints mechanism that can be used by your clients
  • having a national police check no older than four months
  • not being prohibited under a law of a state or territory from working with children
  • meeting the 'working with children' requirements in the state or territory that you provide services, if applicable
  • being suitable to perform the functions and duties of an FDR practitioner
  • being covered by professional indemnity insurance.

Qualifications and competencies

A person is required to meet criteria for accreditation relating to qualifications and competencies, which includes competency in screening and assessing families for family violence and child abuse.

Generally, competencies are met through training which includes a workplace assessment under direct observation to demonstrate competency in delivering services to clients, including clients affected by family violence.

Practitioners can meet this accreditation requirement by:

  • completing the full Vocational Graduate Diploma or Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution (or the higher education provider equivalent)
    or
  • have an appropriate qualification and competency in the six compulsory units from the Vocational Graduate Diploma or Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution (or the higher education provider equivalent)
    or
  • have accreditation under the National Mediation Accreditation Scheme (see information below about NMAS) and competency in the six compulsory units from the Vocational Graduate Diploma or Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution (or the higher education provider equivalent).

You can achieve units of competency through a registered training organisation or a higher education provider that has certified it offers an equivalent course.

Practitioners may also meet accreditation requirements if they were included in the Family Dispute Resolution Register on 30 June 2009 and achieved competency in the three specified units (or higher education provider equivalent) before 1 July 2011.

National Mediator Accreditation Scheme

Information about the National Mediator Accreditation Scheme (NMAS) can be found on the Mediator Standards Board website.

To issue section 60I certificates, mediators accredited under NMAS still need to meet the accreditation standards to become an accredited FDR practitioner.

NMAS accreditation alone does not entitle practitioners to issue section 60I certificates.

Higher education equivalent qualifications

Higher education providers are allowed to certify to this department that their postgraduate course or units are equivalent to those of the vocational or graduate diploma.

A course or unit can only be equivalent from the date the vocational graduate diploma was endorsed (24 September 2007). The following higher education providers have certified courses or units they offer are equivalent to the vocational or graduate diploma:

Full Vocational or Graduate Diploma:

  • The College of Law
  • University of South Australia.

Six compulsory units of the Vocational or Graduate Diploma:

  • Bond University
  • James Cook University
  • Queensland University of Technology
  • University of South Australia.

For information about the courses offered, please enquire with the higher education provider directly.

If you are a higher education provider and you want to certify your qualification you should contact the Practitioner Accreditation Unit.