Par­ale­gal on mis­sion to help peo­ple

Broome Advertiser - - News - Jakeb Waddell

Fam­ily and do­mes­tic vi­o­lence may be a ma­jor is­sue in the Kim­ber­ley, but a young Perth woman is con­fi­dent that, de­spite her age, she can play a role in the so­lu­tion.

Sita Sam­tani, 21, made the move to Broome re­cently to start work as a par­ale­gal at Abo­rig­i­nal Fam­ily Law Ser­vices, where she is faced with the harsh re­al­i­ties of crime on a daily ba­sis.

But the Curtin Uni­ver­sity grad­u­ate be­lieves that rather than shy away, young peo­ple like her­self can do their part in com­bat­ing vi­o­lence.

“I have al­ways been in­ter­ested in the com­mu­nity le­gal sec­tor and hu­man rights, but com­ing from Perth, I had no idea of how ex­treme the prob­lem is here,” she said.

“It has been quite con­fronting, es­pe­cially deal­ing with a lot of mat­ters to do with child pro­tec­tion and re­strain­ing or­ders, but I am so grate­ful to have the chance to help.

“I guess I have al­ways been pas­sion­ate about help­ing peo­ple and it goes with­out say­ing that this is a town and re­gion where there are peo­ple who se­ri­ously need the help.”

Ms Sam­tani’s day-to-day roles in­clude driv­ing her clients to the of­fice to speak in a safe place, com­plet­ing le­gal doc­u­ments on their be­half and ap­pear­ing in court. But it is the out­reach com­po­nent of her job — where she vis­its in­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties out­side of Broome to meet clients — that she has found most ful­fill­ing.

“The Kim­ber­ley is a very beau­ti­ful place but there are some hor­rid things that go on,” Ms Sam­tani said. “Out­reach is re­ally en­joy­able, but prob­a­bly the most con­fronting in terms of the re­al­i­ties of vi­o­lence in th­ese ar­eas.”

Although deal­ing with the is­sues first-hand, Ms Sam­tani does not plan on leav­ing any time soon.

“I want to con­tinue work­ing here as long as pos­si­ble — the place has fu­elled my pas­sion to help peo­ple even more,” she said. “I think it is im­por­tant to be­lieve in my­self as part of the so­lu­tion. No mat­ter a per­son’s age, they should help the com­mu­nity where they can.”

WA Po­lice statis­tics show that be­tween Jan­uary and June this year in the Kim­ber­ley, there were 1309 cases of fam­ily as­sault re­ported and a fur­ther 180 for threat­en­ing be­hav­iour within the fam­ily.

Pic­ture: Jakeb Waddell

Abo­rig­i­nal Fam­ily Law Ser­vices par­ale­gal Sita Sam­tani, 21, at Broome Court­house.

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