The NSW Government has announced ongoing funding to support survivors of family and domestic violence in Marrickville Legal Centre’s community.
The Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Pru Goward, has announced the Centre will again receive $100,000, allowing it to continue its Family and Domestic Violence (FDV) support service for another year.
Marrickville Legal Centre’s Principal Solicitor, Annette van Gent says the support is vital.
“We are grateful for the continuing support, as we know family and domestic violence is such a big problem in our community.
“As these cases are usually complex, lengthy and traumatic, the Centre needs to work with people sensitively and in a holistic fashion. That’s why a social worker specialising in family and domestic violence is critical, in addition to the service of our lawyers,” says Ms van Gent.
Marrickville Legal Centre serves a community of 1.5 million people in Sydney, including the inner west, south-west and southern suburbs of the city.
One in three calls to the Centre relate to FDV: due in part to the large service area and also because the community has particularly high rates of such violence.
Canterbury-Bankstown is one of the five areas in NSW with the largest proportion of domestic violence assaults (NSW Recorded Crime Statistics, July 2015-June 2016).
The Marrickville Legal Centre was instrumental in developing the “Yellow Card” program, through which women experiencing violence were proactively referred to support services by police. It has since developed into the It Stops Here – Safer Pathways program, which has been rolled out across NSW.
As the Centre also runs a state-wide Youth Legal Service for children and young people under the age of twenty-five, it caters to the specific needs of those young people who are survivors of FDV.
“Young people especially don’t realise they are experiencing family and domestic violence,” says Ms van Gent.
“They may come to us with a legal issue such as with credit or debit related issues, or perhaps tenancy issues, but then it transpires they are leaving family or domestic violence. That’s where our support worker comes in: she can help the person understand their situation better, and provide support with the many issues surrounding this violence, such as safety planning, housing, income support, and the need for counselling.”
Read more about the particular issues relating to young people and domestic and family violence in this article in the Inner West Courier.