about us


Who is WDVCAS NSW Inc

WDVCAS NSW is the peak, state-wide body representing the 28 individual WDVCAS services that operate across New South Wales supporting women and their children who are experiencing domestic violence.

We are an independent voice for our members, who are the 28 WDVCAS services as well as associate members. We operate from a human rights and feminist perspective to support better outcomes for women and children experiencing domestic violence. We identify and advocate on domestic violence issues within social, political and legal contexts, at both state and national levels.

WDVCAS NSW was established in 1995 as in informal network. Since 2011 the organisation has operated independently from Legal Aid NSW with a board appointed Director.

WDVCAS NSW Inc is funded by Legal Aid NSW through the Women Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Program (WDVCAP).

Click here for more information about WDVCAP.

 

Our Vision and Purpose

Our vision is to achieve better outcomes for women and children by identifying and advocating on domestic violence issues within social, political and legal contexts.

We are informed by a feminist analysis of power and recognise domestic and family violence as a crime and a violation of the human rights of women and children.

WDVCAS NSW will continuously work at a systemic level to improve service delivery to our clients through identification of issues affecting their access to justice and services, and via collaboration, discussion, consultation, research, submissions, and formulating recommendations in reform.

The purpose of WDVCAS NSW is to:

Our Guiding Principles

WDVCAS NSW is founded on a human rights approach, which:

 

Strategic Directions

The WDVCAS NSW Strategic Plan (2015 - 2018) is designed around the following objectives:

1. To identify and advocate on domestic and family violence issues with a focus on systemic policy and law reform;

2. To produce high quality policy documents, submissions and independent research that is circulated widely;

3. To draw upon the expertise of our members and in turn, to provide high quality professional support to them;

4. To develop strong partnerships and work collaboratively with our stakeholders; and

5. To be a well governed and managed association with an expanded funding and membership base.

To achieve our vision and objectives, we will focus on three key result areas:

Key Result Area 1:  Evidence based advocacy

Since WDVCAS NSW Inc. was incorporated, undertaking systematic policy and law reform work has been the key aim of WDVCAS NSW Inc. We intend to intensify our advocacy efforts by engaging with our membership to draw upon their unique and specialist expertise to inform the ongoing policy and law reform agenda. A key ongoing strategy will be to develop collaborative relationships with key stakeholders at the state level, including members of parliament, government agencies, police, courts, other peak organisations and state wide service providers.

Key Result Area 2:  Supporting our members
A key objective for the 2015-2018 period will be to draw upon the expertise of our members and provide high quality professional support to them. This will become increasingly important as the WDVCASs progressively become hosts of the Local Coordination Points. This work will be central to the success of all the work undertaken under key result area 1.

Key Result Area 3:  Good governance and management
WDVCAS NSW Inc. is a relatively new organisation (established in 2011) and the need to continuously find ways to strengthen the governance and management of the association remains a key priority. We aim to build the governance capacity of the Board of Directors and staff to ensure they can fulfil all their obligations to achieve the organisation’s aims and objectives.

For copy of 2015-2018 WDVCAS NSW Strategic Plan click here.

 

Our Constitution

For a copy of the current WDVCAS NSW’s Constitution click here.

 

Board of Directors

WDVCAS NSW is governed by a Board of Directors. The members of WDVCAS NSW elect the members of the Board of Directors each year at the organisation’s annual general meeting. The Board meets at least five times each calendar year face to face and through teleconference facilities for regional and rural members.


The current board is:

Chair:   Anita Cox

Anita Cox has worked in the domestic violence sector for over 15 years in Queensland, New South Wales and Eastern Europe. Anita has been the coordinator of the Blue Mountains WDVCAS since November 2012 and a member of the WDVCAS NSW Inc. Board since November 2013. Anita is committed to the work of WDVCAS NSW Inc. in making a difference to the lives of women and children experiencing domestic violence. Anita has a Bachelor of Social Science, Honours, a Diploma of Business and is trained in Expressive Therapies. Anita is passionately committed to working in the domestic violence sector as an advocate for women and children and has worked in Belarus and Romania developing culturally specific domestic violence training materials. While living and working in Belarus and Romania Anita co-founded Arts for Life International, a small not for profit developed to promote an understanding of combating the effects of trauma and abuse through artistic expression. In Belarus Anita also worked with institutionalised children using sand tray therapy to provide children with a non-invasive creative tool to tell their stories and express themselves. During this time Anita co-authored “Hope Exists: Exploring Abuse and its Effects”, a Russian handbook for people growing up in institutions.

Vice Chair:    Louise Webber

Louise Webber joined the board of WDVCAS NSW Inc. in 2015 after 10 years working for WDVCAS. Louise is currently the Assistant Coordinator of the Mid Coast service, with primary responsibilities being to the Taree, Forster and Gloucester sections of the Mid Coast area. Prior to Louise's career with WDVCAS, she spent 14 years as a Correctional Officer with NSW Department of Corrective Services, including a number of secondments to Probation and Parole. Louise has spent the majority of her working life attached to the criminal justice system and is dedicated to providing the best possible assistance to women and children experiencing domestic violence.


Secretary: Helen West

Helen has been with Wagga WDVCAS since 2007, has come up the ranks to be Coordinator. Helen and her team have been activists for women who have been victims of Domestic Violence. Helen’s training includes training in case management, counselling, leadership skills and mental health. She has always been involved in community engagement and is often invited to speak at many regional services, forums and meetings, which has meant she is well trained in public speaking. Helen has chaired the local domestic violence liaison committee for over ten years and through the committee has helped organise regional forums and marches. As part of her commitment in supporting local areas she has facilitated smaller outreach towns to start their own domestic violence liaison committees. Helen has always been a strong and outspoken supporter of gender based issues, she is often speaking to local politicians and high ranking officials to help better raise these issues. Helen’s goal is to continue being an advocate and a voice for women experiencing domestic violence.

Ordinary Member:  Tamara Briggs

Tamara is an Aboriginal woman with a range of experience in Family and Domestic Violence. Tamara is the Aboriginal specialist worker and current coordinator of North Western WDVCAS. Tamara has a Cert IV in Aboriginal Family Health, a Cert IV in Family, DV, Sexual Assault and Child Protection and a Cert IV in Workplace Assessment and Training. Tamara is the Aboriginal specialist worker for Northwest WDVCAS and acting coordinator. Tamara has a long history of working in Aboriginal organisations and has extensive community networks. Tamara sits on a Management Committee for a Family Violence unit in Moree as well as the local DVAT committee. Tamara brings to WDVCAS NSW Inc. a wealth of professional knowledge including specialist knowledge about Aboriginal communities experiencing family and domestic violence and a rural perspective of the WDVCAS’.

Ordinary Member:   Joanne Walker

Joanne joined the WDVCAS NSW board in 2014, bringing 10 years of experience in the welfare sector. Joanne’s previous  roles have included family support worker, working with families in a holistic framework within their homes, community development and seconded worker for WDVCAS. Joanne is now a full-time caseworker at Macarthur WDVCAS. Joanne is proactive in supporting better outcomes for women and children experiencing domestic violence.

Ordinary Member:   Fiona Koutsoukis

Fiona Koutsoukis has dedicated her recent working career supporting women experiencing domestic family violence and homelessness. For the past 5 years, Fiona has been committed to support her clients to build their capacity and resilience to end their homelessness and participate in their communities. Similarly, Fiona works with women and their children to support them to live safe and fulfilling lives. Fiona delivered high quality case management in crisis accomodation before taking on her current role of Safety Action Meeting Coordinator at the Waverley Local Coordination Point at the Sydney Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service. In this role, Fiona works closely with Police and other Safety Action Meeting members to reduce ongoing harm to victims at serious threat of homicide or serious injury. Fiona has been with the WDVCAS since the beginning of 2016 and has enjoyed contributing to the advocacy work of the peak since joining the board in 2017.

Prior to this, Fiona worked as a commercial litigation paralegal in top tier legal firms in Sydney for 12 years and as a Parliamentary Liaison Officer at NSW Parliament for 3 years. Fiona has Diplomas in Case Management and Community Services and is undertaking a postgraduate degree in Masters of Not for Profit Sector and Social Enterprise at the University of Technology Sydney.

Board of Directors – Special Advisors

There are two special advisors to the Board of Directors. The Special Advisors provide a vital link to the Aboriginal and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) specialist worker networks to ensure the Board’s work is informed by their unique experiences and to ensure the Board membership reflects the diversity of WDVCAS workers.

CALD special advisor: Farah Assafiri

Farah began her work with Bankstown WDVCAS in the role of CALD worker in 2008, quickly becoming coordinator later that year. In 2009, Farah assumed the role of Assistant Coordinator for South West Sydney WDVCAS. Farah became coordinator of SWS WDVCAS, in 2012 and remains working in that position. Farah holds a diploma in legal studies, a certificate in financial counselling and in teaching English to non-English speakers. Farah speaks Arabic as a second language. Farah is committed to continuing her work with a broad range of CALD communities and advocating on their behalf to ensure that any policies and any decisions taken encapsulate their needs.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander special advisor: Tamara Briggs

Tamara Briggs assumed the role of Aboriginal Special Advisor to the WDVCAS NSW Inc. Board of Directors in November 2015. For more details, see her bio above.

Our Director

The current Director is Renata Field, who assumed the position of Director of the Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service NSW Inc. in 2015. Renata holds a Masters degree in Social Work from the University of Sydney and brings to the organisation more than ten years experience working in the not-for-profit community sector.

Renata began working with women who had experienced trauma at Guthrie House in 2013, then moved into a case work position at a specialist domestic and family violence refuge in 2014. Renata has also worked as a researcher for the Education Centre Against Violence and for WDVCAS NSW Inc.

Renata is committed to advocating for the needs of women and children experiencing domestic and family violence and to improving the service delivery offered to women through high quality, accessible, well-funded, specialist services.

About Legal Aid NSW / WDVCAP

Legal Aid NSW funds 28 Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services through the Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Program (WDVCAP).

The WDVCAP was formally established in 1995 with funding from the NSW Government. The aim of the WDVCAP is to assist women and children experiencing domestic violence to obtain legal protection through an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO).

The aim of the WDVCAP is to provide a holistic service which:

More information on the WDVCAP can be found on the Legal Aid NSW website at http://www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au/what-we-do/community-partnerships/womens-domestic-violence-court-advocacy-program

WDVCAP also provides funding to WDVCAS NSW to enable the organisation to act as an independent association representing WDVCAS workers.  For more information on the relationship between WDVCAP, the 28 individual WDVCASs, and WDVCAS NSW click here.

Each of the 28 individual WDVCASs are funded by Legal Aid NSW through the WDVCAP.  For more information on the role and goals of the WDVCASs click here.

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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