New family violence social support services coming soon to family law court registries

New family violence social support services coming soon to family law court registries

Thursday, 9 March 2017

We are excited to announce that planning to deliver an enhanced legal and support service for eligible people at Dandenong and Melbourne family law courts has begun.

Funding provided by the Commonwealth Government will enable us to build on existing duty lawyer services through a Family Advocacy and Support Service pilot that will run until 30 June 2019.

The service will be for unrepresented people coming to the family law courts, focussing on matters where there is family violence or other safety concerns for children.

Associate Director Family Law Gayathri Paramasivam said, ‘We are pleased to be part of a service that will respond to more than a family’s legal problems.     

‘People come to us with family law, family violence and child protection problems that have often escalated because of issues like drug and alcohol abuse, mental health or financial hardship,’ Ms Paramasivam said.

‘This is about achieving better outcomes for families from the time they first attend court.’ 

The pilots are funded through a part of the $100 million package to support the Third Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022.  

About the service

The Family Advocacy and Support Service will include legal advice, risk screening, safety-planning, and social support services and referrals, to improve victim experiences and victim safety.

The legal services will focus on supporting clients and assisting the court to make evidence-based and safe decisions. Specialist family violence support workers will work with families affected by family violence to identify and address non-legal issues.

Families affected by family violence will get help to navigate the complexities of moving between state and federal based court systems. Where eligible for a legal aid grant they will also be referred earlier to Family Law Panel practitioners or our staff practice.

More information

For more information please email Associate Director Family Law Gayathri Paramasivam via gayathri.paramasivam@vla.vic.gov.au

Also see Third Action Plan to reduce family violence – Commonwealth Government media release, 28 October 2016.