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First Government Funded Domestic Violence Unit Opens

8 March 2016 at 11:11 am
Ellie Cooper
The first of 12 specialist domestic violence units funded by $15 million from the Federal Government launched on Monday, the eve of International Women’s Day.

Ellie Cooper | 8 March 2016 at 11:11 am


First Government Funded Domestic Violence Unit Opens
8 March 2016 at 11:11 am

The first of 12 specialist domestic violence units funded by $15 million from the Federal Government launched on Monday, the eve of International Women’s Day.

Legal Aid New South Wales opened the South West Sydney Domestic Violence Unit to assist women who are experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, domestic and family violence.

The unit will receive $1.05 million over three years, providing women with access to legal advice, as well as other services including financial counselling, tenancy assistance, trauma counselling, and emergency accommodation.

In a joint statement Attorney-General George Brandis and Minister for Women Michaelia Cash said the domestic violence units were part of the Government’s $100 million Women’s Safety Package.

“Domestic and family violence is unacceptable, and the Government is committed to addressing the issue as a matter of urgency,” Brandis and Cash said.

“The Government is working with service providers to ensure that the units are integrated with state and territory domestic and family violence initiatives.”

Hanan Amer, Maha Najjarine, Bill Grant, David Coleman, Alira Morey

Hanan Amer, Maha Najjarine, Bill Grant, David Coleman, Alira Morey

The 12 specialist units will be established in metropolitan, rural and regional locations across Australia where there are high rates of domestic and family violence.

The specialist units will also include targeted assistance to Indigenous women, and those facing cultural and linguistic barriers.

CEO of Legal Aid NSW Bill Grant said the South West Sydney Domestic Violence Unit would be a “one stop shop” to help women and children at crisis point receive legal support.

“Our lawyers will attend the domestic violence list days at Bankstown and Liverpool courts, and then follow up with clients about their other legal needs – from family law and care and protection matters to housing, social security credit/debt problems, immigration and victims support,” Grant said.

“A social worker will assist the most vulnerable women and their children by organising support for their non-legal issues, like housing and security, counselling and connecting to government agencies.

“Legal Aid NSW is well placed to provide these services and we understand the issues because a large number of our clients, especially in family law matters, have experienced domestic violence in their lives.

“The staff of our new South West Sydney Domestic Violence Unit are experienced in providing services to vulnerable women and children and have their roots and connections in the region.”

He also said that the unit would work closely with other local, specialist services, including the Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service.

Ellie Cooper  |  Journalist  |  @ProBonoNews

Ellie Cooper is a journalist covering the social sector.

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  • Bernadette says:

    15 Million, Fantastic! But still no-one can help me recover my son taken by his father, breaching our court orders, over 2 weeks ago! His sisters and I are worried sick but the NSW Police can’t enforce my court orders and even the Family Court is going to take 4 weeks to hear my case for recovery. My daughters and I are stressed, scared and feel alone. Domestic Violence takes many different forms, emotional, psychological and used as a weapon by alienating parents and No court orders can protect me or my children. New centres are a great resource but we need a Family Court who will enforce their own orders and capable of protecting us, the vulnerable, when we need protection the most. I want my son home where he belongs before he becomes yet another headline in the press. Less talk and more meaningful action please.

  • Chris Laurie says:

    This is fantastic news but lets get it right, a lot of highly professional and experienced women, and men, have been fighting Family Violence for many years, there are many government funded domestic violence services across Australia, what do you think the Women’s Refuge Network or the Community/Neighbourhood centres have been doing all these years, this is a fantastic initiative and all of those people who take up the Family Violence banner will be very happy but let’s not forget about the great work that people have been doing in NGO’s receiving government funding across Australia, a big ‘great job’ to them.

    • Elizabeth O'Neill says:

      Absolutely agree Chris, adequately funding the NGO’s that are already doing the work would be great! Some of these services receive no government funding what-so-ever and are assisting women in D.V and doing case management all on community donations…including paying workers wages as we in our organisation in the Sutherland Shire in Scott Morrison’s own electorate.

    • Adam Robinson says:

      Agree Chris some of this is smoke and mirrors – what about the funding cuts to emergency aid, legal aid, community legal centres, and the closing of some independent womens refuges last year? They seem to announce funding cuts one year then announce new initiatives the next. Bonkers.

  • Charles says:

    This is a very welcome Government-funded initiative and recognises the need to provide accommodation and support for mothers and their children fleeing from dome4stic violence and abuse, most of whom are suffering post-traumatic stress. The violators and abusers are still finding ways of continuing their abuses and violence however, by applying and being awarded, contact and even custody of the children by Family Courts under the `Shared Parenting’ provisions. Very firm action needs to be taken to bring the Family Courts into line with other protective services as they are too frequently undoing the interventions and work of other agencies by forcing children back into a `meaningful relationship’ with their abusers. National Child Protection Alliance of Australia.

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