Department of Family and Community Services

PILOT PROGRAM TO REDUCE APPREHENDED DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ORDER BREACHES

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09 Aug 2013

Friday 9 August 2013

PILOT PROGRAM TO REDUCE APPREHENDED DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ORDER BREACHES

Minister for Women Pru Goward, Attorney General Greg Smith SC and Member for Strathfield Charles Casuscelli today announced funding of $60,000 to support a Legal Aid NSW pilot program aimed at reducing breaches of Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVO).

With this pilot service, lawyers from Legal Aid NSW will provide a specialised duty service at Burwood Local Court to ADVO defendants for approximately 12 weeks. The project will be evaluated by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, and if successful may be eligible for wider roll out.

“Between January and December 2012, there were 12,781 incidents of breached AVOs in NSW. These numbers are extremely concerning as it directly affects the safety of women and children,” Ms Goward said.

“People who have experienced domestic violence need to know that the legal avenues they seek for security and safety will work. They need to know that ADVOs will serve their purpose and give families a chance to rebuild lives free of intimidation.”

“This project, co-funded by Legal Aid NSW is part of the Domestic and Family Violence Reforms announced in June 2013 by the NSW Government. The reform will focus on prevention and establishing a coordinated response across all agencies,” Ms Goward said.

Mr Smith said: “In the past, defendants in ADVO proceedings have not been represented and may have consented to ADVOs without understanding the arrangements."

“This project will examine whether providing specialist family and criminal legal assistance to defendants in ADVO matters reduces future breaches of ADVOs.

“The expertise of the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR), who will be evaluating the program, is invaluable.

“The involvement of BOCSAR means that we can measure whether the initiatives that we have put in place are working,” Mr Smith Said.

Member for Strathfield Charles Casuscelli welcomed the funding for the Inner West, and hoped that it will improve the safety of domestic violence victims and their families.