Save and expand the Women's Family Law Support Service

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An essential domestic violence support service located at the Sydney Family Court is due to be lost through failure to secure ongoing government funding, despite only costing $120,000 a year.

The service was originally established by the women’s refuge movement and provides a safe room in the court and a counselling and referral service for many women. It is distinct from Legal Aid support services (such as the FASS) in being operated exclusively for and by women and is guided by a feminist framework.

“They should have this in every court” concluded an evaluation of the Women’s Family Law Court Support Service (WFLCSS) conducted by Dr Lesley Laing of the University of Sydney and launched by Professor Rosalind Croucher of the Australian Law Reform Commission in 2011.

Sadly, the government is currently refusing to commit to funding the service, let alone facilitate its expansion to other courts. This is despite the current community concern about the prevalence of domestic violence in the context of family law proceedings.”

Sruti Sinha, Coordinator of WFLCSS states: “We have strong support from the Judges and Family Court staff, legal practitioners and many testimonials from the women we assist. More women than ever are accessing the service. But without funding we cannot continue to offer our support.”