Submission to Australian Law Reform Commission and NSW Law Reform Commission

This is a submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission and NSW Law Reform Commission Family Violence Inquiry by the Sydney Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service (WDVCAS).

The Sydney Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service (SWDVCAS) is well placed to comment on aspects of the Australian Law Reform Commission and NSW Law Reform Commission Consultation Paper Family Violence: Improving Legal Frameworks.  In the period 1 July 2009 to 31 March 2010, the SWDVCAS provided 5,063 services to 1,080 individual female clients with domestic violence related matters. 

The WDVCAS is a service provided by Redfern Legal Centre and funded by Legal Aid NSW through the Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Program (WDVCAP).  The aim of the WDVCAP is to assist women and children who are experiencing domestic violence to obtain protection orders by providing court advocacy, information and assistance to gain access to support services that can assist them with their other legal and social needs.

The WDVCAS recommended that a common set of domestic and family violence policies and objectives be adopted Australia-wide, emphasising the criminal nature of domestic and family violence; the safety of victims and accountability for perpetrators; and the need for a coordinated and integrated response to domestic and family violence which emphasises victim support.   

It was also submitted that consideration be given to introducing legislation to enable the NSW Police Force to disclose to an approved service any information that is likely to aid the approved service in providing assistance to victims of domestic and family violence.