End of year shut down period 2018

Please note the Women’s Legal Centre will be closed from 3 pm Friday 21 December 2018 and reopen at  9 am on Wednesday 2 January 2019.

Our advice line will close from 19 December and reopen at 9.30 am Monday 7 January 2019

If you require immediate assistance, please contact the following the services:

Emergency 000

ACT Police 131 444 (non-emergency)

Domestic Violence Crisis Service 02 6289 0900 (24 Hour Crisis Line)

Guide to Getting a Family Violence Order in the ACT – updated resource published

Your Court, Your Safety: A guide to getting a Family Violence Order in the ACT explains the process of going to court to apply for a Family Violence Order in the ACT.

The Centre was very proud that the Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Yvette Berry MLA  joined Her Honour Magistrate Campbell and a survivor advocate to launch this updated guide as part of the 16 Days of Activism in November 2018

Thank you to our colleagues at the Domestic Violence Crisis Service and the Legal Aid Domestic Violence and Personal Protection Unit for their assistance and support and to the ACT Office for Women for their support in this publication..

The Minister’s Media Release, including comments from the Centre’s Principal Solicitor, is in full here below.

Thanks to all who joined us for the launch.

  Yvette Berry MLA
Deputy Chief Minister
Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development
Minister for Housing and Suburban Development
Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
Minister for Sport and Recreation
Minister for Women

Member for Ginninderra

   
  26 November 2018

Your Court, Your Safety

Today I launched the Your Court, Your Safety: a Guide to Getting a Family Violence Order in the ACT. Your Court, Your Safety is a practical tool to assist people who are considering getting a Family Violence Order

Your Court, Your Safety provides an overview of the nature and dynamics of domestic and family violence. This guide is designed to help women recognise domestic and family violence and to know what supports are available to them.

A Family Violence Order is one of the main options women in the ACT have to respond to violence and protect their safety. Your Court, Your Safety provides a clear overview of the process of applying for a Family Violence Order and practical information about what to expect when attending court.

One of the things I hear often is the difficulty women and families have in navigating the legal system, particularly in the case of domestic and family violence where the parties involved are often stressed and not sure of what to expect.

First launched in 2012, Your Court, Your Safety has been updated to reflect recent changes to the law in the ACT. The definition of family and domestic violence has been amended to explicitly include all forms of violence—physical, sexual emotional, financial and financial violence. These amendments also improved protections for people applying for an order. A self-represented respondent can no longer cross-examine the applicant themselves in a final hearing.

The guide also provides referral information about a broad range of services in Canberra who can help people beyond legal assistance.

Women’s Legal Centre Principal Solicitor, Claudia Maclean explained, “This practical information about the process and what to expect when attending court can be key to women actually being able to make the application and protect their safety. For example, once you know what time, how long you will be at court, how many times you will have to appear, what information you will need you can do things like plan transport, child care, taking time off work.

“It’s also crucial that women know there is free legal assistance and specialised support over at the Court that can help you make the application. Legal Aid ACT run a Domestic Violence Unit that can help people go through the application process for a Family Violence Order and respond to an order. The Domestic Violence Crisis Service’s Court Advocacy Program can provide people applying for an order with advice on the process, support in meetings with solicitors and in the court as well advocacy in court and with other agencies. The more support women have going through the process, the better that experience and the outcome will be.

“Changes to the Family Violence Act 2016 were made to better reflect our client’s experiences of violence and shows them the system recognises and aims to respond. Domestic and family violence is characterised by the experience of coercion and control in a relationship, not just one form of violence. It’s important that we skill up our whole community to recognise unhealthy and dangerous signs in relationships.

“The changes to the Act protects applicants from direct cross-examination by the person who is alleged to have perpetrated the violence and are also a crucial local response to the pervasive problem of systems abuse, where violent partners use legal systems to continue the abusive, threatening and controlling behaviour.”


Statement ends

Centre close down information 2017

The Women’s Legal Centre will be closed from 3pm Friday 22 December 2017 and will reopen at 9am on Tuesday 2 January 2018.

Our advice line will be closed from Monday 18 December 2017 and will reopen at 9:30am on Tuesday 9 January 2018.

If you require immediate assistance, please contact the following the services:
Emergency – 000
ACT Police – 131 444 (non-emergency)
Domestic Violence Crisis Service – 02 6289 0900 (24 Hour Crisis Line)

If you need an urgent recovery order, please contact the Federal Circuit Court on 1300 352 000. For more information about how to apply for a recovery order, please click here or go to: www.federalcircuitcourt.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/fccweb/family-law-matters/missing-children/recovery-orders/

The Women’s Legal Centre ACT wishes everyone a safe holiday season and relaxing new year.

16/17 Annual General Meeting

The Women’s Legal Centre Board warmly invites you to join the Centre for our 16/17 Annual General Meeting.

Date: Wednesday 1 November 2017
Time: 1 – 2pm, light refreshments from 12:30 pm
Venue: Women’s Legal Centre Conference Room

The AGM will include the following agenda items; Tabling of minutes of previous Annual General Meeting held on 25 November 2016 (attached);  Tabling of the Chair’s Report on the activities of the Association, the Audited Statement of Accounts and Auditor’s Report.

Please RSVP to agarside@womenslegalact.org by Monday 30 October.

The meeting will also elect the Centre’s Board. If you would like to consider nominating for the Board, please contact the Centre’s Executive Director role on 02 6257 4377 or erosenman@womenslegalact.org in the first instance to discuss the role.

Membership

If you have not yet renewed your membership for 2017/18, you will find a membership renewal form on the membership page of our website. Please complete this form and return it to us at agarside@womenslegalact.org. This form and membership payment must be received by COB Monday 30 October 2017.

Women’s Legal Centre welcomes new Principal Solicitor

The Women’s Legal Centre has appointed Claudia Maclean as the new Principal Solicitor.

Claudia joins the Centre with almost 10 years experience in private practice, predominately in family law. She has a Masters in Applied (Family) Law from the Australian National University.

Claudia has been active in the legal community throughout her career, working with the Women Lawyer’s Association ACT, the ACT Law Society Alternate Dispute Resolution Committee and the ACT Young Lawyers Association. She has previously donated her time to supporting free legal advice for Canberrans through the ACT Law Society’s Legal Advice Bureau and as a previous volunteer with the Women’s Legal Centre.

Claudia’s experience in the private and community sectors has given her a strong interest in the gap in legal services available for women who do not qualify for legal aid, yet cannot afford private representation.

In her role as Principal Solicitor with the Centre, Claudia’s priorities will include supporting the establishment of the new DV Unit, which will provide legal advice and representation to women experiencing family violence; increasing the Centre’s outreach practice; and working with the Centre’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Program to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are able to access legal assistance and support.

Claudia will make an excellent addition to the leadership team at the Centre at a crucial time of growth and change.

 

For more information, please contact Elena Rosenman, Executive Director on 02 6257 4377 or erosenman@womenslegalact.org.

New Online Legal Toolkit for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

ACTHRC logo     logo

15 March 2016

New Online Legal Toolkit for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

The ACT Human Rights and Discrimination Commissioner and Women’s Legal Centre today launched a new Online Legal Toolkit for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

The toolkit has been developed by the ACT Human Rights Commission and the Women’s Legal Centre, in conjunction with the Aboriginal Legal Service and Care Inc.

‘The toolkit can be immediately accessed on people’s smart phones and devices when they find themselves in circumstances of high stress to negotiate issues,’ said Dr Helen Watchirs, Human Rights and Discrimination Commissioner.

‘It gives useful and practical information on their rights in specific situations, and where to get help.’

‘At the Women’s Legal Centre we see many Aboriginal women who are facing workplace issues, family breakdown or are engaged with Child and Youth Protection Services,’ said Elena Rosenman, Executive Director of the Women’s Legal Centre.

‘Many of these women are involved with legal processes without any legal advice, which means they are at risk of making agreements or undertakings that do not respect their rights,’ continued Ms Rosenman. ‘This site will give all Aboriginal people in Canberra a starting point, some accessible information and point them in the direction of more assistance.’

The toolkit was developed based on feedback from the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. It includes information on:

  • Care and Protection
  • Discrimination at work
  • Police and security guard contact in public spaces
  • Debt and payday lenders

The toolkit can be accessed via internet web browsers on computers and tablets, as well as being added to the home screen of smart phones.

It is available for free at http://deadlyadvice.hrc.act.gov.au   

Media contact: Sean Costello, ACT Human Rights Commission  0424 369 231

Holiday Hours – 2015/16

The Women’s Legal Centre will be closed from midday on Thursday 24 December 2015 and will reopen at 9 am on Monday 4 January 2016.

Our Advice Line will be closed from Monday 21 December 2015 and will reopen on
Monday 18 January 2016.

If you are in immediate danger please ring Emergency Services on 000.

If you need assistance in regards to domestic violence please  Domestic Violence Crisis Service on  02 6280 0900 (available 24 hours a day, seven days a week). If you need legal advice the Legal Aid Advice line will be open from 4 January 2016. Please phone 1300 654 314, Monday to Friday, 8.30 am to 5.00 pm.

 

Confronting Family Violence

Stories like Emma’s remind us that we need to work towards a world that is free of family violence. Her strength through adversity is extraordinary, and it highlights that the rest of us need to be just as strong in standing up for services that support women like her. …Here in the ACT, the Women’s Legal Centre and our other community centres will see their funding fall off a cliff in 2017 with hundreds of thousands of dollars being stripped from their budgets. Read more.

Women’s Legal Centre Launches Online Donations

Women’s Legal Centre (ACT & Region) have launched online donations! Click here to donate!

The Women’s Legal Centre is a small community legal centre. We provide free advice on a wide range of legal issues including domestic and sexual violence, divorce and separation, employment, property settlement and victims’ compensation. With less than three full time lawyers, last year we assisted 1200 women, provided close to 3 000 pieces of advice and took on close to 200 cases. Two thirds of the women we assisted with family law matters experience domestic or family violence.

With less than three full time lawyers, we simply could not do our work without the support of the community and pro bono assistance from private practitioners. Your regular donations will make a huge difference to our ability to continue providing our services to the most vulnerable women in Canberra.

Are donations tax deductible? Yes

Will I receive a receipt for my donation?
Yes, immediately sent to you by email when approved.