‘Des­per­ately needed’ ser­vice for do­mes­tic vi­o­lence vic­tims

Dubbo Photo News - - Emergency issues - By NA­TALIE HOLMES

AN um­brella ser­vice cov­er­ing all as­pects of as­sis­tance for women af­fected by do­mes­tic vi­o­lence in the lo­cal re­gion has been launched in Dubbo.

West­ern Women’s Le­gal Sup­port (WWLS) cov­ers a range of ar­eas in­clud­ing le­gal ad­vice, coun­selling ser­vices, spe­cialised sup­port, cri­sis ac­com­mo­da­tion and risk man­age­ment.

WWLS se­nior solic­i­tor Rachael Robert­son said the cen­tre op­er­ates as a free holis­tic wrap­around ser­vice, is the first of its kind and very much needed in the Orana re­gion.

“With one Aus­tralian woman be­ing killed ev­ery week as a re­sult of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, and with the Orana and Far West rank­ing five times above the state av­er­age for do­mes­tic vi­o­lence oc­ca­sion­ing griev­ous bod­ily harm, this ser­vice is des­per­ately needed,” she told Dubbo Photo News.

Mrs Robert­son said the need for such a ser­vice was es­tab­lished in 2015, when the

Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment an­nounced fund­ing for an in­no­va­tive le­gal as­sis­tance ser­vice model.

“The ra­tio­nale was to in­te­grate the lead­ing so­cial and sup­port as­pects to en­hance safety and re­duce the risk of re­trau­ma­tis­ing do­mes­tic vi­o­lence vic­tims from retelling their story mul­ti­ple times.”

The unit takes a case man­age­ment ap­proach to en­sur­ing that ser­vices are tai­lored to each woman’s cir­cum­stances, mak­ing con­tact and re­fer­rals to other agen­cies.

“Some­times peo­ple in do­mes­tic vi­o­lence sit­u­a­tions don’t want to leave. Oth­ers want to flee and need some­where to stay or they need emo­tional sup­port. It’s about build­ing them up and link­ing them with a course of ac­tion to help them be­come more emo­tion­ally strong, help them get their ducks in a row.”

WWLS is in­de­pen­dent, gov­ern­ment-funded and not for profit, as­sist­ing women and their chil­dren who are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing or are at risk of fam­ily and do­mes­tic vi­o­lence across west­ern NSW.

“It’s not be­cause we have all ser­vices in-house, we just of­fer an ar­ray of sup­port,” Mrs Robert­son said.

“Some­times peo­ple just don’t know where to start. This is a place to come that of­fers a safety net for what­ever sit­u­a­tion.”

Some clients self-re­fer for the ser­vice while most re­fer­rals come from other agen­cies such as the Dubbo Neigh­bour­hood Cen­tre or WDVCAS (Women’s Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence Court Ad­vo­cacy Ser­vice).

“We have al­ready es­tab­lished fan­tas­tic re­la­tion­ships with other do­mes­tic vi­o­lence ser­vices in the re­gion and are com­mit­ted to work­ing col­lab­o­ra­tively with ev­ery­one in this space to en­sure that our com­mu­nity is kept safe from do­mes­tic and fam­ily vi­o­lence.”

West­ern Women’s Le­gal Sup­port is lo­cated at 3/207 Bris­bane Street, Dubbo. Drop in or call 1800 655 927 for fur­ther in­for­ma­tion

PHOTO: DARCEE NIXON

Solic­i­tor Amy Sch­nei­der, Case Worker Sue Turner, Re­cep­tion­ist Kate Jack­son, Abo­rig­i­nal Sup­port Worker Mel Shen­nan, and Se­nior Solic­i­tor Rachael Robert­son, pic­tured out­side the West­ern Women’s Le­gal Sup­port build­ing.

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