A stronger, more diverse and independent community sector

Read our submission here.

Women’s Legal Services provide high quality free legal services for women, including legal advice and representation, support services and financial counselling, community legal education, training for professionals, and engage in advocacy for policy and law reform. Some Women’s Legal Services have operated for more than 40 years.

Temporary Visa Holders Experiencing Violence Pilot

In 2021, 7 Women’s Legal Services were identified as best-placed service providers for the Temporary Visa Holders Experiencing Violence Pilot funded by DSS (‘the Pilot’). The Pilot provides wrapround and specialist legal and support services, including migration advice and representation, to women on temporary visas or no visa experiencing domestic and family violence.

Recommendation 1:
Adopt a consistent service model across Australia by expanding the Temporary Visa Holders Experiencing Violence Pilot model to all 13 Women’s Legal Services across Australia.

Lack of adequate funding and certainty and impacts on services

Recommendation 2:
Prioritise early decision-making about future investment and expansion of pilot programs with longer grant agreement terms to provide organisations with certainty about future funding arrangements.

Recognising the real cost of delivering integrated, wraparound support services

Recommendation 3:
Provide dedicated funding for both legal staff and social workers, financial counsellors, and cultural safety workers to recognise the real cost of integrated, wraparound support for women, particularly victim-survivors of domestic and family violence.

Recognising the value of cross-jurisdictional work and addressing multiple legal needs to enhance women’s safety

Recommendation 4:
Ensure women have access to legal assistance with the range of legal issues most likely to impact women experiencing domestic and family violence, including the practice areas of family law, child protection, family violence intervention orders, and victims of crime compensation.

Missed opportunities for systemic change and reduced costs to government

Recommendation 5:
Prioritise systemic change as well as service delivery to create better outcomes for women on temporary visas experiencing domestic and family violence.