About our Members


What is the role of a WDVCAS?

WDVCASs provide information, assistance and court advocacy services to women and children experiencing domestic violence. They provide a model of advocacy that is holistic and;

While a core focus of the WDVCASs is to provide court advocacy, they also provide non-court related generalist assistance. They provide information on a range of matters, including avenues of self empowerment for women. Two WDVCASs (Macarthur and Wagga Wagga) also provide case management to women and children who have experienced domestic and family violence.

The WDVCASs were also selected to host the Local Coordination Points across the state as part of the Domestic and Family Violence Reforms. Click here for more information .

83% (24 of 29) of WDVCASs are funded to employ specialist Aboriginal workers and 45% (13) receive funding to employ specialist CALD workers. Both specialist worker groups participate in network meetings and activities and share their expertise and knowledge with other workers at their respective WDVCAS.

Each of the 29 individual WDVCASs are funded by Legal Aid NSW through the WDVCAP.

WDVCAS NSW is the peak non-government association assisting women and children seeking legal protection from domestic violence. Our members are comprised of members from the 29 individual WDVCAS as well as associate members.

 

What are the goals of a WDVCAS?

The goals that guide the services provided by WDVCASs include:

 

Where can you find a WDVCAS?

WDVCAS Telephone Local courts attended
Blue Mountains 1800 938 227 Bathurst, Katoomba, Lithgow, Mudgee
Burwood 1800 938 227 Burwood
Castlereagh 1800 938 227 Coonamble, Lightning Ridge, Walgett
Central West 1800 938 227 Cowra, Forbes, Orange, Parkes
Central Coast 1800 938 227 Gosford, Woy Woy, Wyong
Far South Coast 1800 938 227 Batemans Bay, Bega, Eden, Moruya, Narooma, Bombala
Far West 1800 938 227 Broken Hill, Wentworth, Wilcannia
Hunter 1800 938 227 Belmont, Newcastle, Raymond Terrace, Toronto
HunterValley 1800 938 227 Cessnock, Kurri Kurri, Maitland, Muswellbrook, Singleton
Illawarra 1800 938 227 Albion Park, Kiama, Port Kembla,
Macarthur 1800 938 227 Camden, Campbelltown, Picton
Macquarie 1800 938 227 Parramatta, Ryde
Mid-North Coast 1800 938 227 Forster, Gloucester, Port Macquarie, Wauchope, Taree,
New England 1800 938 227 Armidale, Glen Innes, Gunnedah, Tamworth, Walcha
North West 1800 938 227 Boggabilla, Inverell, Moree, Mungindi
North West Sydney 1800 938 227 Blacktown, Windsor
North Coast 1800 938 227 Coffs Harbour, Bellingen, Grafton, Kempsey, Macksville
Northern Rivers 1800 938 227 Ballina, Byron Bay, Casino, Kyogle, Lismore, Murwillumbah, Tweed Heads
Northern Sydney 1800 938 227 Hornsby, Manly, North Sydney
Riverina 1800 938 227 Griffith, Hay, Hillston, Lake Cargellico, Leeton
South Eastern 1800 938 227 Cooma, Goulburn, Queanbeyan
South West Sydney 1800 938 227 Bankstown, Fairfield, Liverpool
SouthCoast 1800 938 227 Moss Vale, Nowra
Southern 1800 938 227 Albury, Deniliquin, Finley, Holbrook
Southern Sydney 1800 938 227 Kogarah, Sutherland
Sydney 1800 938 227 Balmain, Downing Centre, Newtown, Waverley
Wagga Wagga 1800 938 227 Cootamundra, Junee, Gundagai, Narrandera, Temora, Tumut, Wagga Wagga, West Wyalong, Young
Western 1800 938 227 Bourke, Brewarrina, Cobar, Dubbo, Gilgandra, Narromine, Nyngan, Warren Wellington
Western Sydney 1800 938 227 Mount Druitt, Penrith

 

Case Studies

The best way to understand how WDVCAS supports women and their children experiencing domestic violence is through case studies:


Case study 1: Highlight Court Advocacy work of WDVCAS

Ms X attended Court as a victim of ongoing domestic violence. Police had issued an ADVO and also charged the offender. Ms X had a small child and had left the family home due to her fears for the safety of herself and her child. Leaving her belongings behind, she fled with only a few basic essentials.

Ms X discussed a range of issues with a WDVCAS worker prior to attending Court. The issues included:

Ms X attended Court in a distressed and fearful state, bringing a list of property she believed was rightfully hers to claim. A WDVCAS worker explained that the Duty Solicitor would be able to negotiate with the defendant’s solicitor on what property her former partner would agree to her having. There was an issue around ownership of some furniture items but Ms X could produce receipts if required.

Discussion was also held at Court around the defendant having access to their child, Ms X having confirmed that she had no Family Law Orders or Parenting Plan. WDVCAS advised Ms X that they would ask the Duty Solicitor to discuss these issues with the defendant’s solicitor.

The WDVCAS worker also telephoned the local Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service from the Court to clarify Ms X’s tenancy situation. This they did, advising a very relieved Ms X of her rights as a tenant under DV provisions.

The Police Domestic Violence Liaison Officer (DVLO) at Court agreed to add a Condition 4 to the ADVO, once consent had been sought from the defendant. The DVLO also confirmed that they would present Ms X’s Property Recovery Order in Court, through the Police Prosecutor.

After some lengthy negotiations, consent was obtained to the Property Recovery Order. There were also negotiations around contact between the little boy and the father. A Parenting Plan was drafted by the Duty Solicitor, negotiated with the defendant’s Solicitor, and ultimately consented to by the defendant.

At first mention for the matter against the defendant he pleaded guilty to the offences and also consented to the ADVO (including Condition 4). The defendant’s solicitor also confirmed to the Magistrate that the defendant was moving out of the property by the next day – allowing Ms X and her son to return to their home. The Property Recovery Order was agreed to and the Parenting Plan was also presented to the Magistrate.

Ms X left the Court house with the following:

  1. Final ADVO against the defendant, including Condition 4
  2. Conviction of the offences against the defendant
  3. A Property Recovery Order
  4. A Parenting Plan
  5. Advice from the Tenants’ Service in relation to the lease and her rights under DV provisions along with an offer of ongoing support from this service
  6. Information and the offer of referrals to ongoing support for Ms X, including an offer of a referral to the Staying Home Leaving Violence program
  7. Offer of further advocacy from WDVCAS, should it be required.

Ms X was overwhelmed with her outcomes and much more confident of her future, knowing ongoing support was there for her if she needed it.


Case study 2: Highlighting the non-court advocacy work of WDVCAS

Ms Y, a previous client of our WDVCAS, sought our assistance with advocacy to Housing NSW. It turned out she had a number of matters requiring assistance and advocacy, including Centrelink, Child Support, and financial assistance with moving.

Ms Y’s literacy and health issues (heart condition) meant the required effort to resolve these issues was overwhelming her.

We firstly referred her to a sympathetic private solicitor to assist with property settlement on the matrimonial home, attending with her on occasion because of her confusion about the legal issues involved. Once the settlement was finalised Ms Y was effectively homeless, so we assisted with her application to Housing NSW for a house for her and her 4 children. Within a week she was allocated a house in the area where her children attended school.

There has been ongoing advocacy to Housing NSW from our WDVCAS and the local Tenants’ Advice & Advocacy Service to whom we referred Ms Y, in terms of property maintenance issues.

Once Ms Y’s housing application was approved, we then approached another DFV service to obtain brokerage for her to engage a removalist at no cost.

We referred Ms Y to the local Community Legal Centre for advocacy to Centrelink regarding Child Support and now that she is aware of their existence she has independently sought their advice on other matters.

Finally, we referred Ms Y to a family support service where she continues to receive ongoing support.


Case study 3: Highlighting the impact of domestic violence & how WDVCAS supports clients

Ms Z was referred to our WDVCAS by the local police station following an incident involving verbal abuse from her partner and malicious damage to her car.

Although Ms Z’s relationship with her violent partner (V) was only 12 months old, a pattern of violent abuse and intimidation had already been established, aggravated by his use of the drug Ice.

Ms Z recounted an incident whereby V had driven her around in his car for 4 hours, telling her he was taking her to the forest, where he intended killing her. Ms Z had not reported this event, nor others like it because she feared for her life if V found out she’d gone to the authorities.

Five months into the relationship Ms Z made a decision to end the relationship but was so fearful of V’s reaction that she tried to separate by gradually distancing herself from him. Ms Z has 3 children by a former relationship, aged 6, 7 and 10. The children all resided with Ms Z in rented accommodation.

The incident involving the verbal abuse and damage to Ms Z’s car had occurred when she refused to get out of her car when V demanded she do so. V tried to drag her from the vehicle and then proceeded to smash the car. Ms Z drove off and was pursued by V. Ms Z saw a police speed camera operation by the roadside and pulled in, begging for help.

The police took Ms Z to their station to make a statement and an application for a provisional ADVO was completed. The ADVO included a very strict set of conditions, which prohibited V from making any contact with Ms Z, stalking her, damaging or interfering with her property or going within 100 metres of her home. Bail was granted but with conditions.

The next day the Police advised us that V had been charged with breaching the ADVO and resisting Police. This time bail had been refused.

At the Court, Ms Z advised our caseworker that she was extremely fearful for her safety and that of her children. She wanted to move house, given V knew where she lived and obviously had no qualms about breaching ADVOs.

We made a referral to Housing NSW’s Start Safely program to see if Ms Z would be eligible for the program’s subsidised private rent for domestic violence victims. Ms Z met with Housing NSW triage the following day.

Given Ms Z’s emotional vulnerability, we also spoke to her about referring her to Victims Services for counselling support, which she was anxious to access.

A sentencing hearing was adjourned and to Ms Z’s horror, conditional bail was granted, one of the conditions being that V reside at an address which was in the same area as Ms Z.

Ms Z continued living in fear of V coming after her, locking herself and the children in to their accommodation as soon as she brought them home from school each day.

In the meantime we continued to email Housing regarding Ms Z’s Start Safely application and were relieved when it was approved one month after the application had been submitted.

The case came back to court for sentencing and V was fined, given a 2 year good behaviour bond, a 2 year ADVO with strict conditions, an Intensive Correction Order and placed on case tracking.

Ms Z continued looking for alternative private accommodation and eventually found a place out of area, where the real estate agent approved her application and agreed to the conditions of the Start Safely program.

Ms Z contacted us to advise she had secured accommodation for herself and her children and was very appreciative of all the support she had received through our WDVCAS.

 

What is a Local Coordination Point?

In 2014 the NSW Government announced that the 28 WDVCASs in NSW will operate as the Local Coordination Points in a new service delivery model. The new service delivery model, It Stops Here Safer Pathway, is a central element of the NSW Government's broader domestic and family violence reforms.

We believe the Local Coordination Points are integral to the success of the new service delivery model in that they will coordinate local support for domestic violence victims and facilitate urgent action for those at serious threat of further harm through the coordination of regular Safety Action Meetings.

WDVCASs as host of the Local Coordination Point will perform the following functions:

The WDVCAS Coordinator will be responsible for managing staff undertaking Local Coordination Point responsibilities, including threat assessment, case coordination and Safety Action Meeting secretariat support. Every victim supported by a Local Coordination Point will remain the Local Coordination Point’s client until such time as she is referred to other appropriate service provider(s) for ongoing support.

For more information on the Local Coordination Points go to the WDVCAS NSW Position Paper on the Domestic and Family Violence Reforms (June 2014 ) click here or go to www.domesticviolence.nsw.gov.au.

 

What is a Safety Action Meeting?

A key feature of the NSW Government Domestic and Family Violence Framework for Reform is a new service delivery model,  It Stops Here Safer Pathway,  which is intended to improve the consistency and effectiveness of the response to domestic violence in NSW.

Safety Action Meetings (SAMs) are a mechanism to deliver a coordinated response to women who have been identified as at serious threat of further harm.

Each SAM will be chaired by a senior police officer whose Local Area Command is in the Local Coordination Point’s area. The same local representatives of government agencies will attend each SAM, along with key NGO representatives who will be or have been involved with the victim and can provide useful information about her particular circumstances.

The Local Coordination Point will generally be the conduit between a domestic violence victim and the SAM, so the Local Coordination Point representative will be tasked with ensuring that the woman’s wishes are known and respected by SAM participants.

The main purpose of the SAM is to immediately reduce the threat of further harm to the victim and her or his children. Safety Action Meeting members develop a Safety Action Plan for each case on the agenda – this is a list of actions that agencies must take to reduce the threat to the victim's safety and this is not a list actions that victims must take.

Ultimately WDVCAS NSW believes the SAM is an accountability mechanism. It has the potential to ensure that government agencies and non-government services are held accountable to prioritise and coordinate support for women who are at serious threat of harm.

For more information on the Safety Action Meetings go to the WDVCAS NSW Position Paper on the Domestic and Family Violence Reforms (June 2014 ) click here or go to www.domesticviolence.nsw.gov.au.

If you are in danger, please call 000 (Australian emergency number), or 1800 WDVCAS (1800 938 227) (24hr domestic violence counselling)

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