$200,000 upgrade is given to the Domestic violence legal helpline

In order to cater for a 40 per cent rise in the domestic violence field demand, Women’s Legal Service Queensland (WLSQ) is planning to expand its legal helpline. All volume data will be monitored to increase efficiency and the staff working on the state-wide helpline will be doubled drawing on private donations and government funding. In order to curb complex family law matters and domestic violence, WLSQ provides free legal help to Queensland women and their children. As a matter of fact, WLSQ found that 95 per cent of calls made to the helpline went unanswered after an evaluation conducted this year. Natalie Davidson, who organizes fundraising at WLSQ, said that currently, through the various programs of the service including their helpline, the WLSQ is only able to help about one in 10 women who seek their help.

In response, with expanded operating hours from 9am to 3pm, Monday to Friday, WLSQ has developed a new helpline that is expected to start t in January 2016. “That’s the way to go in order to determine that most of the women are contacting WLSQ’s service for help,” said Ms Davidson. Women will reach two staff members who have the required skills to make initial assessments when they call the helpline for help. Therefore, clients can seek relevant advice from one of WLSQ’s 140 volunteer family lawyers who have been bestowed the duty to offer legal advice.

With the new helpline, Ms Davidson estimated that they will be able to answer 700 per cent more calls from women affected with domestic violence. The Women’s Legal Service, which is very exciting, said that thousands of women will get the opportunity to receive assistance from the Women’s Legal Service. In addition, the new technology meant for the helpline will provide data on a daily basis around the peak demand times, where people are calling from, the number of missed calls and who has called. Ms Davidson also explained that this is the main reason why the program can really have a better understanding about adjustments and unmet need that can be made.

“We will be funded by community fundraisers and government grants for us to meet the helpline’s cost which is estimated to be $200,000 each year,” said Ms Davidson. This week, through its annual White Ribbon Day fundraiser breakfast, WLSQ raised $85,000 at the Supreme Court. Therefore, Ms Davidson said that this meant they were confident to start the helpline come 2016. The sold-out event was attended by academics and members of parliament, top-tier law firms, barristers and a group of around 450 judges. “We transform the foyer of level three of the Supreme Court into a beautiful events space after literally clearing it out,” said Ms Davidson. In addition, the event will actually kick off after the tickets are put on sale.

Written by Joseph Craig

Joseph Craig is a writer, blogger, legal researcher and best-selling author of dozens of technology, law, digital marketing and self-development books and courses. You can contact him at josephcraigwrites@gmail.com


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