The Palaszczuk Government has awarded an additional almost $110,000 each year to the Women’s Legal Service to more than to provide additional specialist support to women affected by domestic and family violence.
Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Di Farmer said the additional funding has allocated to enable the service to employ a second specialist social worker to deliver counselling, information and support to women who are accessing legal support provided by the organisation.
“Domestic violence social workers provide specialist support including safety planning, protection order applications, complex case coordination and crisis counselling,” she said.
“As well as this support, social workers at WLS have expert knowledge of family law and how it relates to domestic violence, so they work closely with lawyers to make sure that safety issues are appropriately addressed in legal settings.
“Some of the women who seek help with WLS aren’t keen to engage with traditional domestic violence services because of stigma, so funding an additional social worker will increase WLS’s ability to respond to and support women as they progress through the legal system.”
Ms Farmer said the government remained steadfast in its commitment to ending domestic and family violence by ensuring people affected have timely access to information and support.
The Women’s Legal Service is a specialist community legal centre that provides free legal advice to women in domestic and family violence, family law, sexual assault, family law and child protection.
Women’s Legal Service CEO Angela Lynch said they were experiencing a high and increasing demand for a specialist domestic violence social worker and welcomed the financial support.
“We know that referrals to our social work team have significantly increased as a result of new legal programs and 2,000 more calls answered by our Statewide Helpline over the last year, with social worker staff constantly working at capacity,” she said.
“The data shows that increasing social worker resources available at WLS is vital for ensuring timely responses to the immediate needs of women and kids at greatest risk because of domestic and family violence.
“Separation after domestic violence is a time of heightened and significant risk.
“With this support we are now better equipped to provide the emotional and practical supports women need for their immediate safety and wellbeing - from safety planning to assisting with the many steps to rebuilding a safer future.”
Ms Farmer said strong partnerships between government and non-government organisations is what is needed to put an end to domestic and family violence.
“We believe firmly in the need for community and corporate organisations to join with us”, she said.
“Domestic and family violence simply has no place in our homes, communities or workplaces.”
Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
The Honourable Di Farmer