We are right in the middle of Law Week 2014. Law Week is an event held each year by the Law Society of Western Australia for the benefit of the legal profession and the wider community. Law Week is a great opportunity to find out more about the law and legal system and support justice throughout our community.
There are a number of valuable, free and informative events being held this week including seminars, lectures, free legal advice and tours of the Magistrates, District and Supreme Courts. To find out more about the events go to the Law Society of Western Australia website at http://www.lawsocietywa.asn.au/events-programme-community.html
As a Community Legal Centre that offers free legal services to victims of Family and Domestic Violence (FDV), MIDLAS would like to take the opportunity of Law Week 2014 to promote understanding and awareness that FDV is not acceptable. MIDLAS would also like to encourage the importance of a broad understanding throughout the community of the legal justice system and what it can do for you.
MIDLAS understands that FDV is a highly complex and sensitive issue that involves a number of factors that make it very difficult for the victim to leave an abusive relationship. The physical, emotional and financial control the perpetrator tends to exert over the victim can result in the victim feeling they have no other alternative but to continue the relationship. In addition, people often do not realise they are victims of FDV. Managing a domestically violent relationship involves the victim ensuring the safety of themselves and often their children on a day-to-day basis. It is understandably hard for the victim to look beyond what is needed to keep themselves and their family safe for that day. For this reason, the victim has difficulty in truly understanding the extent of services that are out there to assist them.
By the time a client seeks MIDLAS Legal services, they have evidently managed the domestically violent relationship up to a point where they feel they have the ability to leave. Leaving a domestically violent relationship is an extremely difficult step to take, as the victim tends to be concerned for the safety of themselves, their children and sometimes even the perpetrator. MIDLAS recognises these complexities and the efforts of the client in handling the situation to this point. MIDLAS understands that victims of FDV respond to abuse in different ways and is committed to offering information, options and advice that suits the wishes of the client.
Clients of MIDLAS are often surprised to discover the vast array of services that are available to assist them as victims of FDV. Not only can community legal services such as MIDLAS offer information, options and advice surrounding their legal situation, but can also offer clients Emergency Relief including food vouchers, smart riders and pharmacy vouchers. These provide much needed relief for victims who have fled an abusive relationship and are financially supporting themselves or their children. MIDLAS also organises referrals to other services such as refuges, counselling and the Police.
The aim of Law Week is to offer the opportunity for the community to find out more about the law and our legal system. In the field of domestic violence, knowledge of the extent of available services is the key to empowering victims to leave a domestically violent relationship. With a greater awareness of available services in the community for victims of FDV, victims would feel more adequately equipped to confidentially leave an abusive relationship.
If you, a friend or a family member needs any information on the services that are out there to assist victims of FDV or need legal advice surrounding a situation, please do not hesitate to call MIDLAS on 9250 2123 to speak to a member of our Legal Service or make an appointment.
Midland Information Debt and Legal Advocacy Service (Inc) (MIDLAS) empowers disadvantaged and vulnerable people within our community who are experiencing distress by providing them with free services and confidential: information, advocacy, options, referral and support so they can achieve a better way of life. To make an appointment or to find out more information visit www.midlas.org.au or give us a call on 9250 2123.