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Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Program

Responsible government

  • New South Wales

Fourth Action Plan actions

  • Improve support and service system responses
    • 16 Enable workforces to provide trauma-informed support with a focus on safety and recovery to victims and survivors of domestic, family and sexual violence.

What are we doing?

Legal Aid NSW Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Program (WDVCAP) administers 29 Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services (WDVCASs), supporting 117 courts across NSW. WDVCASs provide information, advocacy, safety planning and referrals for victim-survivors of domestic and family violence.

Key components of the Program include:

  • Women are referred to a WDVCAS from the NSW Police Force following a domestic and family violence incident. Referrals are transferred through an online Central Referral Point, a key element of the NSW Government’s Safer Pathway Program.
  • WDVCAS staff provide services and supports to women and their children. A WDVCAS will also make referrals to family support and counselling services, accommodation and health services, case management, legal advice on Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders and other legal issues such as family law, debt, immigration, victims’ compensation and tenancy.
  • Mentoring and training for WDVCAS staff is provided through WDVCAP. This ensures that the services provided to women are professional, trauma-informed and provided in a way that is culturally safe. Mentoring and training also aims to achieve consistent, high quality service delivery across NSW, including through Safer Pathway processes and procedures.

What have we achieved so far?

An independent evaluation of the WDVCAP in 2018 found that the ‘service delivery model has achieved its aims and objectives by successfully engaging victims from the point of domestic violence incident and Police referral, through to court, and post-court if case management services are offered.’

In 2018–19, WDVCAS provided services to 47,902 clients, which is an increase of 9 per cent from the previous year. Of these women, 13 per cent identified as Aboriginal, 18 per cent as multicultural and 8 per cent as having a disability.

What is next?

Legal Aid NSW will implement the recommendations of the evaluation.

WDVCAP will continue to review and update training for WDVCAS workers to ensure it is in line with legislation, contemporary research and client needs.

An evaluation of case management pilots at Wagga Wagga and Macarthur WDVCAS sites is taking place, in conjunction with the service providers.

What difference will we make?

WDVCAS services are helping to improve the safety and wellbeing of tens of thousands of women and children across NSW.

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