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The new guidelines for specialist report writers in the family court. Suzi Blackwell
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The new guidelines for specialist report writers in the family court. Suzi Blackwell

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  • 1. The new Guidelines for Specialist Report writers (psychologists) in the Family Court
    New Zealand Psychological Society Annual Conference
    Rotorua, July 17-20, 2010
    Dr Suzanne Blackwell
    Professor Fred Seymour
  • 2. Changes since 1996 Guidelines
    • New legislation/rules
    • 3. Care of Children Act (2004)
    • 4. Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act (2004)
    • 5. Code of Ethics (2002)
    • 6. Code of Conduct for Expert Witnesses
    • 7. New Practice Note
    • 8. Case law e.g. K v K
    • 9. Professional development and supervision requirements
  • Other changes in the Family Court environment
    Greater access to information (internet)
    This means lawyers and litigants also
    Research findings about children and families
    Case law (tribunals and courts)
  • 10. Recording Technology
    Safety/ security issues
    More self-represented litigants
    More litigious society
  • 11. This means we must adapt to changes
    Better methodology and justification for departures from standard methodology
    Better control of the assessment process
    Better boundaries in assessment process
  • 12. Consistent reading and correct application of research literature
    Better reports that have relevant information that is synthesised by the report writer
    Clarity and format of reports
    Appropriate supervision
    On going professional development
    Stay within areas of expertise
  • 13. Greater attention to consent procedures
    Greater professionalism
    What are the hallmarks of this?
  • 14. How we arrived at the guidelines
    • Original 1996 guidelines
    • 15. Current research on methodology
    • 16. Current research on Family Court issues
    • 17. Case law
    • 18. New Practice note
    • 19. Code of Conduct for Expert witnesses
    • 20. Disciplinary tribunal and PB decisions
    • 21. Code of Ethics
    • 22. Legislation
  • Also
    Experience
    Anecdotal reports from various professionals
    Report Writers’ survey conducted by Summer Scholarship student Katie McCormick
    Consultation with report writers both informally and formally
  • 23. Implications for guidelines
  • Most importantly
  • Other assessment issues
    Observation methodology
    Where?
    What?
    Naturalistic?
    Structured ?
    Why?
    Record keeping
  • 43. More
  • More
    Transparency and explanation of methodology
    Why
    Advantages
    Self represented litigants
    Relationships with other Family Court professionals
    Format of report
  • 53. Report headings
  • Format
    Headings
    Clarity
    Spelling, punctuation and grammar
    Proof read
    Numbered paragraphs
  • 63. Finally
    The guidelines cover Care of Children Act
    Also CYPF Act
    Where there are different issues these are delineated
    Hopefully they will assist us through the next decade
  • 64. Thank you
    Any correspondence to
    Dr Suzanne Blackwell
    Suzanne.blackwell@xtra.co.nz
    s.blackwell@auckland.ac.nz
    Professor Fred Seymour
    f.seymour@auckland.ac.nz

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