On 20 October, we virtually launched our Domestic Violence Response Pilot Program. The launch for this Program was opened by former CEO of Legal Aid, Mr Brendan Thomas, on behalf of NSW Attorney General, the Hon. Mark Speakman, and attended by many representatives from key community, social support and health organisations working in the domestic and family violence space and with CALD communities across Sydney.
We took this opportunity to show guests what the Program has been able to achieve in the past six months, particularly since the state of NSW was bound by COVID-19 stay-at-home orders for the better part of four months, and reveal our plans to work more closely with victim-survivors during the next phase of the Program.
We would like to thank all those who participated in the launch as well as those who attended – your contributions and continuing support has been invaluable. We also thank the Institute of non-violence for allowing us to share the video ‘Letter To My Daughter’ created by poet and rapper Luka Lesson, and acknowledge the community leaders and workers who lent their voices to highlight the unique needs of CALD communities and the importance of fair and equal access to justice.
What work have we done?
As lawyers who are part of the system working to put an end to domestic violence, we need to develop greater understandings of the behaviours, attitudes and nature of domestic violence – where it begins, what it looks like, so that we can tackle this problem. Our time over the last six months has shown us that collaboration across multiple disciplines, including health, social support and community, is vital to the success of early intervention efforts around DFV. This includes engaging with community and religious leaders, particularly when these can be a trusted source of information for CALD communities.
We have used our consultation to develop and deliver community legal education to train community workers on how to spot legal problems from their community members or clients and make culturally appropriate and informed referrals. This education is critical to ensure we can advise and educate clients before their legal problems escalate.
Over the next few months, we will be building out the arm of our program that will provide culturally informed legal assistance victim-survivors. We look forward to continuing our partnerships across Western Sydney, and furthering our understanding of the CALD experience of domestic and family violence to tailor our services to the unique needs of communities and inform our law reform work.
We know that it is only when we all come together that we can develop a truly holistic service that may ensure reduced rates of recidivism, lessen barriers to access and increase chances of rehabilitation for those in CALD communities experiencing domestic and family violence.