Case Study

If you are in danger, please call the police on 000. To contact your nearest WDVCAS service call 1800WDVCAS (1800 938 227).

Case study 1: The non-court advocacy work of WDVCAS

1. Assistance

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.

2. Overwhelmed

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

3. Housing Assistance

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.

4. Referral

We firstly referred her to a sympathetic solicitor to assist with property settlement on the matrimonial home, attending with her on occasion because of her confusion about the legal issues involved.

5. House Allocation

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.

6. Approval

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

7. Ongoing Support

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

8. Advice

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.

Other 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:

  • The need to recover Ms X’s property from the former family home
  • The need to return Ms X and her little boy to the family home, given that they were staying with relatives in cramped and unsuitable accommodation
  • The need to apply for a Property Recovery Order and a Condition 4 (defendant not to go within 100 metres of the home) be added to the final ADVO
  • The need for ongoing counselling support and referrals for Ms X. Her son was too young to access counselling at this point

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 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.

Charmed
& Dangerous

A woman's guide to reclaiming a healthy relation.

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