The event took place on Wednesday. The Family Advocacy and Support Service (FASS), was launched in Western Sydney by the Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC.
FASS will be responsible for recruiting new lawyers who have experience in family law and have tackled several issues in the state.
On the other hand, the lawyers who get appointed will be responsible for helping people with various family law issues. They will also help the victims with other related legal needs.
The initiative shows that the government is working towards ensuring that there is minimal discrimination against women and their children.
The Commonwealth funded Legal Aid NSW to establish the FASS under the National Plan to Eradicate Injustices subjected to women through domestic violence.
While speaking to Aussie Lawyer Blog, Kylie Beckhouse said that there are very many stakes when it comes to parenting disputes involving allegations of family violence. Kylie Beckhouse is the current Director for Legal Aid NSW Family Law.
She added that the initiative would help many victims get justice faster because coming to court can be a tremendously stressful experience.
“With an emphasis to keep families safe through practical measures, this approach will keep parents and their children safe by offering effective support at the right time,” said Ms Beckhouse.
She said that the FASS duty lawyers will take the task of helping people with related legal needs such as obtaining domestic violence orders. However, their main duty will be assisting victims with issues such as disputes over custody and child abduction.
Ms Beckhouse added that the approach was very innovative because it will ensure that the victim’s voice is heard by the courts through the help of the dusty lawyers. They will help their clients in critical situations such as representing a parent in an urgent situation or even help gather evidence to show the courts a clear picture of the situation.
“Family Advocacy and Support Service lawyers will have to learn more about their clients in order to have an upper hand when it comes to representing them in court,” said Ms Beckhouse.
This may go as far as helping the clients in areas where they have been mostly affected. Hence, they may be forced to offer complex non-legal needs in areas like mental health and housing.
Australian Family Lawyers were extremely pleased with the government’s effort to support Family Law by its announcement this month of the first extensive review of the Family Law Act in 40 years.
In addition, they were impressed by the government’s $80 million commitment in the federal budget to fund family law services.
Ms Beckhouse concluded by saying that they are planning to reduce the pressure on the courts by introducing extra family consultants and parental management hearings.
There are more serious cases that needs the courts’ attention but they are being distracted by smaller parenting disputes,” said Ms Beckhouse.