Continuing Professional Development for legal practitioners on coercive control

Read our submission here.

Women’s Legal Services Australia (WLSA) commends the Attorney-General’s Department for providing stakeholders with the opportunity to contribute to the design of the grant opportunity to train legal practitioners on coercive control nationally.
The Continuing Professional Development for Legal Practitioners on Coercive Control initiative is an important step towards consistency across the legal profession in understanding and responding to the nature and dynamics of domestic and family violence. With victim-survivors of domestic and family violence being ten times more likely than others to experience legal problems, it is crucial that lawyers and barristers have the required knowledge and skills to identify and respond to family violence.

Women’s Legal Services play a significant role in building legal workforce capability to respond to gendered violence, including domestic, family, and sexual violence. This includes building capacity across the legal workforce to identify when clients are experiencing domestic, family, or sexual violence. We draw upon the best available evidence and practice expertise to design competency-based training for legal practitioners that is tailored to their area of legal practice, setting and needs. Women’s Legal Services also deliver community legal education and training for non-legal professionals, such as social workers and financial counsellors. In addition, state and territory governments regularly seek the advice of Women’s Legal Services on designing and implementing training for frontline workers, including health services and police. It is our experience developing and delivering training that we draw upon in our contribution to the consultation.

This submission outlines the key components of a comprehensive and coordinated legal workforce capacity building project that could be funded by the Attorney-General’s Department, in addition to the training on coercive control that is the subject of this consultation.