‘Desperately needed’ service for domestic violence victims
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
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.