Domestic and family violence resource open to NSW lawyers

Domestic and family violence resource open to NSW lawyers

26 October 2021 By Naomi Neilson
Juliana Warner

NSW lawyers working with clients who have either experienced or are at risk of domestic and family violence can now access a resource through the state’s premier legal body to assist their responses and practical steps for prioritising clients’ safety.

The “working with clients affected by domestic and family violence resource assists legal practitioners – but particularly family lawyers – with understanding the practical and procedural steps they can take to prioritise their clients’ safety at any stage of the matter, NSW Law Society president Juliana Warner announced.

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The guide will both identify key issues and will assist practitioners on complying with professional obligations in the context of domestic and family violence. The resource can act as a tool to allow lawyers to reflect on each step they can take from day one.

“Matters where clients or their children are impacted by family and domestic violence can be some of the most difficult to deal with,” Ms Warner said, adding it is especially difficult for the practitioners who are new to family law and its clients.

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“While primarily, the guide focuses on family law, the Law Society acknowledges that domestic and family violence is pervasive, complex and can happen in any context.”

Ms Warner said lawyers might encounter domestic and family violence in a diverse range of matters, particularly in family law and apprehended domestic violence order matters but also in areas such as criminal law, child protection, immigration, housing and tenancy, consumer credit disputes, elder law and partnership disputes.

“The guide can be used in relation to clients who are victims of violence, clients who have committed or allegedly committed acts of violence, or clients who are in both categories,” Ms Warner added.

In addition, the Law Society welcomed the state government’s recent $484.3 million funding package for specialist housing and support services for women and children fleeing from domestic and family violence. The funding includes a plan to expand the core and cluster program and deliver an additional 75 women’s refuges.

“We cannot underestimate the impacts of the pandemic on women and children experiencing domestic and family violence and the compelling need for them to have access to safe accommodation and appropriate support services, particularly in regional and rural areas of NSW,” Ms Warner said.  

Domestic and family violence resource open to NSW lawyers
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