A specialist legal service that has assisted more than 1,500 South Australian victims of domestic violence over the past two years has been recognised for its important work.
The Women’s Domestic Violence Court Assistance Service, which is run by the Legal Services Commission, has been awarded the Law Society’s 2021 Justice Award, in acknowledgement of its game changing work.
Attorney-General Vickie Chapman, who presented the Award, said the service has provided invaluable assistance to women who have experienced domestic violence.
“Navigating the justice system can be daunting for many, especially those who are vulnerable,” Attorney-General Chapman said.
“This free and confidential service provides women in need with expert legal advice, which, in turn, empowers and protects them.
“I was incredibly proud to present this prestigious Award to the service, and want to thank all those who work, day in, day out, to help guide and protect people who have experienced domestic violence,” she said.
Assistant Minister for Domestic and Family Violence Prevention, Carolyn Power, said it’s important for South Australian women experiencing domestic violence to have access to a service that supports them when they need it most.
“This specialist legal service is available and accessible to all South Australian women, and I encourage anyone currently experiencing domestic or family violence to access this service if they need it to help protect their safety,” she said.
Director of the Legal Services Commission Gabrielle Canny said the service has been life changing for many women.
“Abuse can come in many forms, with abusers increasingly using technology to harass their victims,” Ms Canny said.
“This can involve threats, tracking devices, stalking and repeated calls or texts – sometimes hundreds in a day.
“The Women’s Domestic Violence Court Assistance Service helps those women apply for intervention orders or deal with residential tenancy issues arising from abusive relationships,” she said.
This was the case with Jamie*, who reached out to the service after suffering years of technology-based abuse;
Jamie was a victim of technology-based abuse that lasted for many years and had a devastating impact on her health and her family. That abuse finally ended after she sought help from the Women’s Domestic Violence Court Assistance Service.
“When I first spoke to the lawyer, I had little hope that anyone could get me out of the situation I was facing,” said Jamie.
“But their care, understanding and knowledge has been amazing.
“I finally have some control back in my life because he can no longer do as he pleases to destroy my life.
For the first time in years, I can wake up each morning and not dread checking my phone or social media,” she said.
The Legal Services Commission was awarded the contract to run the service in 2019, with the Marshall Liberal Government contributing over $2 million in funding over four years.
More details on the service can be found here: https://wdvcas.lsc.sa.gov.au/