Complain about a family law service
We encourage people who use Family Law Services to provide feedback on their experiences with us. We want the providers we fund to deliver the best possible services to the community. Our complaints process ensures any concerns you have are taken seriously and dealt with promptly.
Before you complain about a family law service provider
We can only investigate complaints about family law service providers which receive funding under the Family Relationship Services Program. We cannot investigate complaints about private providers of Family Dispute Resolution (FDR), Children’s Contact Services or other separation services.
If you are unsure about whether the organisation you are wishing to complain about is funded by us, please contact us using the details below before lodging your complaint.
Complaints about private FDR Practitioners must be made to the individual practitioner’s complaints body. Read more about making a complaint about a private FDR Practitioner.
We cannot compel a service provider to compensate you, give a refund for services or provide you with services. In most cases we will not investigate a complaint unless it has first been raised with the service provider that the complaint is about.
What you can complain about
We may investigate complaints that raise one or more of the following issues:
- concerns that the behaviour of employees of government-funded services were unprofessional, inappropriate or unsafe
- non-compliance by funded obligations with relevant legislation and frameworks
- concerns relating to the provision of safe, appropriate and inclusive services.
How to make a complaint
The best and easiest way to make a complaint is to use our complaint form.
If you can’t lodge your complaint using the form, you can contact us through the department’s switchboard on 02 6141 6666. If you have any questions about the complaints process, you can also write to us using the details below.
Family Law Services Section
Robert Garran Offices
3–5 National Circuit
Barton ACT 2600
How we handle your complaint
We will tell you in writing when we receive your complaint. It is important to provide all the information requested so we can effectively handle your complaint.
It may be easier to investigate or collect information regarding complaints raised shortly after an issue has occurred. It is preferable if complaints are made within 12 months.
Step 1: Review the complaint
Once we have received your complaint we may ask you for more information.
Once we have all the information, we will tell you if we have decided to:
- not deal with the complaint, including because we are unable to
- refer the complaint to a more appropriate organisation
- investigate the complaint further.
We aim to do this with within 7 days of receiving all the information we need to make this decision.
We may not deal with the complaint if the complaint:
- is related primarily to an interpersonal disagreement between the complainant and an employee of the service provider, and there appears to be limited likelihood that opportunities for remedial action exist or would address the reported situation
- is frivolous, vexatious, lacking in substance or is not in good faith
- has been considered by the service provider and you do not explain clearly why the outcome of that process is inadequate
- has been or is being reviewed by another party, such as an external complaints body or other government agency
- would more appropriately be dealt with by another body or process.
Step 2: Investigate
If we decide to investigate your complaint we may send details of your complaint to the provider and ask them to respond, if you have provided consent to do so. It will not contain your contact details or your personal information if it is not required to respond to your complaint.
After we receive their response we will decide on the outcome of the complaint.
Step 3: Respond
We will tell you the outcome of your complaint. We aim to provide you with an outcome of your complaint within 28 days of a decision being made to investigate your complaint.