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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’s Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Program (WDVCAP) administers NSW Government funding for 27 Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services (WDVCASs), across NSW. WDVCASs provide information, advocacy, safety planning and referrals for victim-survivors of domestic and family violence, as well as support for victim-survivors through the court process at all local courts. WDVCASs also provide secretariat support and victim-survivor liaison for Safety Action Meetings, as part of the Safer Pathway program.

Key components of the Program include:

  • Women are referred to a WDVCAS from the NSW Police Force and other government and non-government services following a domestic and family violence incident. Referrals from Police 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 the program 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 2019-20, WDVCAS provided services to 53,527 clients, which is an increase of 11.7 per cent from the previous year. Of these women, 13.7 per cent identified as Aboriginal, 20 per cent as multicultural and 9.6 per cent as having a disability.

What is next?

Legal Aid NSW will implement the recommendations of the 2018 evaluation. and 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 the case management funding at Wagga Wagga and Macarthur WDVCAS was completed in 2020, in conjunction with the service providers. Findings from this evaluation will inform future work in relation to case management availability across NSW.

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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