All victims of violent crime in NSW can get help with information and referrals through the Victims Support Scheme, part of the NSW Department of Communities and Justice.
Informing an important part of Marrickville Legal Centre’s (MLC’s) holistic service to the community, our Domestic and Family Violence Support Service (DFVSS) often supports clients to submit victims’ services applications. Applications are designed to help victim-survivors of domestic and family violence (DFV) receive free counselling, a primary victims’ payment (i.e. a recognition that what happened to them was a crime), and/or financial assistance for immediate needs and/or economic loss.
Domestic & Family Violence Support Worker Angela Boyland ordinarily assists clients with these applications in person however during the Greater Sydney Lockdown she has pivoted this assistance to video calls. While technology can be challenging for some victims fleeing domestic violence, who may not have access to a laptop or stable internet connection, the convenience of walking through the process over Teams has been greatly beneficial to many.
Like for Tayce (not real name) who was living under the same roof as her ex-husband who was violent with long-term anger management issues. She wanted advice about what to do if his anger escalated. She also wanted advice about family law issues such as how they could co-parent and whether this could work. The DFVSS assisted Tayce with her questions about domestic violence and referred her for advice from MLC’s Family Law Service.
Tayce received ancillary support from the Family Law Service, who provided legal advice about the children and co-parenting with her ex-husband. A family law solicitor also provided Tayce with preliminary advice about property settlement.
On the importance of an integrated DFV service at Marrickville Legal Centre, Angela says, “It can’t be underestimated. It’s very valuable because domestic violence can extend across so many different areas of law.”
Whether online or in person, the DFVSS enables victim-survivors to access support for social support as well as legal assistance across family law, tenancy, civil law and more without requiring them to seek assistance from a different organisation.
“There should be a domestic and family violence worker in every single legal centre,” shares Angela.