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ANNUAL REPORT DECEMBER 2011 TO NOVEMBER 2012

Far West Community Legal Services Group

Warra-Warra Legal Service

Cooperative Legal Service Delivery (CLSD) Program

A partnership in legal service delivery

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FAR WEST C OMMUNITY LEGAL CENTRE INC.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS We would like to acknowledge our funding partners, pro bono and our collaborative sector partners: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Ashleigh Dallman, Solicitor, Legal Aid NSW Ashurst Lawyers Bronwyn McCutcheon & Jane Cipants, Legal Aid NSW/ Commonwealth Legal Services Program Dennis Roach Family Violence Prevention Legal Services Section, Indigenous Justice and Community Safety Branch, Social Inclusion Division Hunt & Hunt Lawyers Jenny Lovric, Glenn Sofinowski & Kim Gabler, Cooperative Legal Service Delivery Program, Legal Aid NSW Justice & Community Sector Partners in the Far West NSW & NSW LawAccess NSW Michelle Jones & Bev Lazarou, Women’s Domestic Violence Advocacy Program, Legal Aid NSW Maria Robbins, Robbins Group Nadia Rosenman, Solicitor, Legal Aid NSW Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre Rural Women’s Network Simon Howard, Solicitor, Legal Aid NSW

We acknowledge all of our financial supporters of the White Ribbon Event. These include individuals and businesses from the Far West and from all over NSW. This event would not occur without this generosity. Annual Report Coordinator Annual Report Editors Annual Report Photos Design & Production

Tracey Willow Cindy Grahame & Tracey Willow Meg Kelly, Donna Kennedy & Ben Crompton Brand Creative, Broken Hill

We respectfully acknowledge the Elders and the Aboriginal Nations who are the traditional owners of this land, particularly the Wilyakali and Baarkintji people of the Far West NSW, and all of the other Nations who have worked, lived and contributed to our culture in Far West NSW. Published by Far West Community Legal Centre Inc. Address PO Box 399 Phone 08 8088 2020 Fax 08 8088 2060 Web www.farwestclc.org.au Copyright November 2012 Far West Community Legal Centre Inc. All rights reserved


TABLE OF CONTENTS Our Vision, Our Values, Our Work at Far West Community Legal Centre Inc.

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The 2011-2012 Board of Management

8

Who are the Staff of Far West Community Legal Centre Inc?

10

Farewell to Leon Apostle & Ben Crompton

13

We Also Thank & Acknowledge

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President’s Report

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Chief Executive Officer’s Report

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Far West Community Legal Centre Legal Service’s Report

20

Warra-Warra Legal Service Report

26

Far West Women’s Domestic Violence Advocacy Service Report

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Far West Cooperative Legal Service Delivery Report

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Showcasing: Working with Our Community & Our Sector in 2011/2012

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Financial Report

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Far West Community Legal Centre Annual Report 2012

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OUR VISION, VALUES & WORK

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OUR VISION, VALUES & WORK FAR WEST COMMUNITY LEGAL CENTRE The Far West Community Legal Centre was formed as a result of a Federal Government initiative that identified a need for more accessible legal services in the Far West. A public meeting was called in 1999 and an interested group of people formed an incorporated association and made a submission for funding. The submission was successful and the management committee established a community based legal service. The Far West Community Legal Centre Inc. was officially opened on 18 July 2000.

• • • • • •

Free Legal Advice Advocacy Representation Education Referral Reform

Provide assistance and referral to appropriate services for related problems of housing, social security (Centrelink), debts and victims’ compensation.

WARRA-WARRA LEGAL SERVICE

Warra-Warra Legal Service (formerly the Broken Hill Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention Legal Service) is funded by the Family Violence Prevention Legal Services Section, Indigenous Justice and Community Safety Branch, Social Inclusion Division.

Provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with advocacy and assistance for victims and their children to remove themselves from risk of family violence, sexual assault and other forms of violence and child neglect.

Initiate, actively participate in and facilitate preventative programs for long-term solutions to family violence and sexual assault.

The Far West Community Legal Centre is committed to providing a responsive service for people in the Far West who have the least access to justice. It is funded to provide services to the residents and communities of the Far West region including Tibooburra, White Cliffs, Wilcannia, Broken Hill, Menindee and Ivanhoe.

The Warra-Warra Legal Service was funded in 2007 and aims to provide a culturally appropriate and independent legal advice and representation, community development and family support assistance and referral to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are victims of family violence and sexual assault.

The Far West Community Legal Centre is managed by a volunteer Board of Management. Residents of the Far West region are invited to become members of the Association.

The vision of the Warra-Warra Legal Service is that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of the region can live their lives free from family violence and sexual abuse, enabling long and caring relationships.

The Far West Community Legal Centre is committed to the provision of free and accessible legal services, including:

The key business objectives of Warra-Warra Legal Service are to:

Far West Community Legal Centre Annual Report 2012

development and family support service for victims of family violence and sexual assault.

Provide access to a culturally appropriate legal advice and representation, community

• •

Network with other agencies to serve better the needs of victims of family violence and sexual assault.

Actively initiate and target the community in providing more education programs that reinforce the message that family violence are crimes and not a part of our culture.

Conduct community education programs to inform people of their rights and convey to the community that family violence and sexual assault are crimes and not a part of the Indigenous culture.

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FAR WEST WOMEN’S DOMESTIC VIOLENCE COURT ADVOCACY SERVICE

FAR WEST COOPERATIVE LEGAL SERVICE DELIVERY PROGRAM

The Far West Women’s Domestic Violence Advocacy Service (FWWDVCAS) is funded by the Women’s Domestic Violence Court Assistance Program, Legal Aid NSW.

The Far West Cooperative Legal Service Delivery (CLSD) Program is funded by Legal Aid NSW. The funding for this program is governed by the Far West Community Legal Centre Inc. This program was first funded in 2009.

The funding for this program is governed by Far West Community Legal Centre Inc. FWWDVCAS provides women and children with support, advocacy, referral and information and facilitates their access to appropriate legal representation so that women in the Far West can access the justice system to end the domestic violence they have been experiencing. The FWWDVCAS was established in 2008.

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The CLSD Regional Coordinator facilitates projects in conjunction with partners in the legal and community sectors. The Far West CLSD Program meets quarterly and identifies unmet legal needs in the region. Collaborative projects, partnerships and community legal outreach and legal education are developed as a result of this collaborative planning process. Partners from Broken Hill, Wilcannia and Menindee include Far West Community Legal Centre, Warra-Warra Legal Service, Far West Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service, Aboriginal Legal Service, Legal Aid NSW, Centacare, Salvation Army, Mission Australia, Maari Ma, Centrelink, GWAHS, CDEP, Dept. Aboriginal Affairs, Court staff, police, MERIT, Lifeline and other community sector services.

Far West Community Legal Centre Annual Report 2012


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2011 - 2012 BOARD OF MANAGEMENT

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2011 - 2012 BOARD OF MANAGEMENT EXECUTIVE MEMBERS President Vice President Treasurer Secretary

Linda Nadge Vacant Ellen Day Elizabeth Sandow

ORDINARY MEMBERS Maureen O’Donnell Gill Edge Dominque De St Croix

PUBLIC OFFICER Vicki Cullen

Far West Community Legal Centre Annual Report 2012

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STAFF AT THE FAR WEST COMMUNITY LEGAL CENTRE INC.

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FAR WEST COMMUNITY LEGAL CENTRE INC.

FAR WEST COMMUNITY LEGAL CENTRE

Tracey Willow

Rachel Storey

Chief Executive Officer

Principal Solicitor

Cindy Grahame

Mar 2011 - May 2012

Solicitor

Started October 2011

Started July 2012

Vicki Cullen

Ken Beilby

Finance Officer

Acting Principal Solicitor

Started May 2000

Apr 2012 - Aug 2012

Stacey Jackson Administration, Information & Referral Officer 2007 - 2009; returned in 2011

Prue Sulicich Finance Officer Started July 2009

Mariette Curcuruto

Bianca Cattonar

Principal Solicitor

Legal Assistant

Started Aug 2012

Started Feb 2011

Ben Crompton Solicitor Feb 2012 - Apr 2012

Far West Community Legal Centre Annual Report 2012

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WARRA WARRA LEGAL SERVICE Leon Apostle Principal Solicitor

Elizabeth Stahlut

Started July 2011

Solicitor Oct 2009 - Feb 2012

Anthony Hayward Assistant Community Development Worker Started March 2012

Donna Kennedy

Ben Crompton

Community Development Worker

Solicitor Apr 2012 - Dec 2012

Started March 2012

Coordinator Started April 2012

Mariette Curcuruto Acting Coordinator/ Legal Consultant

Anne-Maree Payne

Sandra Pedergana Administration / Community Development Support Worker Started March 2012

Administrative/ Receptionist Started March 2009

Nov 2011 - Aug 2012

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Far West Community Legal Centre Annual Report 2012


FAR WEST WOMEN’S DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ADVOCACY SERVICE Farewell to Leon Apostle & Ben Crompton Leon Apostle and Ben Crompton are two fine and ethical lawyers, who came to Broken Hill to share their legal skills and to gain a greater understanding and appreciation of what it meant to practise in rural Australia.

Loretta Stuart Coordinator/ Aboriginal Specialist Worker

Narelle Blows

Ben Crompton joined Far West Community Legal Centre in February 2012. Ben came with such enthusiasm, creativity and a willingness to learn and share his diverse legal and technological skills. Ben was successfully recruited to the Warra-Warra Legal Service in April 2012. For all of us, this was the best possible outcome. It meant we all continued to work alongside such an inspiring young colleague.

Started July 2009

Far West Community Legal Centre Annual Report 2012

Meg Kelly Regional Coordinator Started May 2009

Started April 2008

Leon Apostle started at Warra-Warra Legal Service in July 2011. Leon’s leadership and openness to new ideas and his commitment to a collaborative team approach to practice will be long remembered. Leon was instrumental in leading the change process for this service, together with the CEO. Leon has left Broken Hill. He continues to manage the legal practice remotely. He leaves knowing that he assisted in transforming the service, by creating a new name, logo, website and legal direction that we all feel so proud of.

Both leave us for the bright lights of Sydney. We wish them the best for their future careers and thank them for all the gifts they brought with them to the Far West.

FAR WEST COOPERATIVE LEGAL SERVICE DELIVERY PROGRAM

Started Sept 2009

WE ALSO THANK & ACKNOWLEDGE

Susan Marks

The FWCLC Inc. values and appreciates volunteers. This year Zoe Kickett (below) joined us. Zoe was a final year law student from Southern Cross University. Zoe has returned to Western Australia and we wish her the very best with her legal career.

Coordinator

Wilcannia Outreach Worker

The FWCLC Inc. also acknowledges our warmhearted Cleaner, Anne-Maree Wilson and our kindhearted Handyman, Angus Thom. Thank you for making our working lives so much easier.

Ann Marie Shaw Wentworth Outreach Worker Started May 2012

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PRESIDENT’S REPORT

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PRESIDENT’S REPORT The 2011-12 year held many defining moments for the FWCLC Inc. The commencement of the new CEO and numerous other key and critical staff occurred in this period. With these additional resources in place, the evolution of the organisation continued, resulting in increased clarity of purpose, vision and operational delivery. The Board of Management continued to provide input and support in the areas of governance and strategy, to support the CEO and staff during these changes. Highlights during the year included the achievement of operational milestones that reflected a change of mood in the community as core legal and educational work grew again to dominate activities. By this I mean that, following major recruitment for some long vacant or high turnover positions, the services on offer to eligible community members were fully utilised and the organisation’s extensive record keeping activities demonstrate the ongoing demand for them, as well as highlighting to key funding bodies the relevance of and need for the services in the Far West community. A critical and ongoing challenge will be the ability of the organisation to attract and retain the necessary funding in future years to ensure that Far West NSW residents are not disadvantaged should funding sources diminish or the amount of funds received decline markedly in comparison to current funding levels. A clear task ahead for the Board and the senior management of the FWCLC will be to continue to present persuasive information to funders, outlining that the services offered are critical to the ongoing

Far West Community Legal Centre Annual Report 2012

social and economic profile of the Far West NSW communities. The Board and I wish to thank Tracey Willow, the CEO, and her dedicated team of professional staff for the magnificent progress in reforming and re-orientating the services during the year. Their achievements have been remarkable. The FWCLC Inc. is truly a great place for the team to work, learn, care, develop and serve the community. Feedback received by the Board, from members of the community, confirm the transformation at the FWCLC Inc. is well-advanced and in line with community expectations.

and maintain the necessary resources to assure a continuity of services for the residents in Far West NSW. Linda Nadge

The Board of the FWCLC Inc. must be sincerely thanked for their contribution to these outstanding results. There have been difficult times during the year. However, the Board stood strong and remains as loyal and dedicated to the FWCLC Inc. and its professional team as ever. I also remind everyone that the Board members are all volunteers with busy lives outside of the FWCLC Inc. endeavours. Thank you to all for your continued support and input, particularly Ellen Day, our Treasurer who has applied many additional hours in coming to understand that role and the finances of FWCLC Inc. Finally, the year ahead continues to present challenges – the operational ones for Tracey as she strives to deliver on the vision and mission of the organisation, and also the strategic objectives for the Board and all staff as we seek to secure funds

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CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER’S REPORT

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CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER’S REPORT “Ultimately our aim should be to create a world free from the displaced, the homeless and the hopeless, a world of which each and every corner is a true sanctuary where the inhabitants will have the freedom and the capacity to live in peace. Every thought, every word, and every action that adds to the positive and the wholesome is a contribution to peace. Each and every one of us is capable of making such a contribution”. Aung San Suu Kri. Community-based legal services are independent community organisations that provide equitable and accessible services, offer appropriate, effective and creative solutions and are responsive to their diverse communities. FWCLC Inc. is a revitalised organisation that has undergone signifiacant internal change over the last twelve months. This annual report recognises and celebrates this year of change and its dedicated and courageous Board of Management and the organisation’s highly skilled and valued workers. As the CEO, I am particularly extremely grateful to the FWCLC Inc. President Linda Nadge, who has been an inspiration. I am also really grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Maria Robbins and Dennis Roach; both have provided me with wise counsel and strategic ways of thinking. I am really appreciative of the wisdom of all my colleagues from within the organisation; all have taught me important lessons about leadership and

Far West Community Legal Centre Annual Report 2012

team work, honour and ethics. No one worker makes the most difference. We are a team. All of the workers are featured in this report because each worker has made a profound contribution to FWCLC Inc. over the last twelve months.

sector demonstrates, we are a dynamic organisation, reaching out to all of our communities in the most creative ways. During the last year, we have as an organisation, cemented relationships with many of our justice and community sector partners.

I am privileged to have worked with such extraordinary legal advocates and the finest non-legal advocates. I am sad to have lost some valued colleagues from the organisation, but as they continue with their journey, they make way for new workers, who will, along with the existing workers, shape FWCLC Inc. into the organisation that it deserves to be. Each service auspiced by the FWCLC Inc. has worked tirelessly to develop an integrated and collaborative approach to practice.

We have also initiated many new strategies that we look forward to developing further in the coming year. The Child Contact Centre Campaign, the Far West Anti-Bullying strategy, the new Domestic and Family Violence Working Party, the Anti-Homophobia Campaign, a commitment to a new rural outreach strategy led by our non-government sector partners and our innovative and responsive community legal education strategy, are just a sample of what we will focus on in 2013.

Twelve months on, Far West Community Legal Centre, Warra-Warra Legal Service, the Far West Women’s Domestic Violence Advocacy Service and the Far West Cooperative Legal Service Delivery Strategy are all stronger and more cohesive and are deeply committed to making our communities in the Far West healthier.

We expect our community partnerships to grow and the opportunities for meaningful collaborations will follow. I particularly want to acknowledge our collaborations with Aboriginal Affairs, Lifeline, the UDRH, Sydney University, Legal Aid NSW, Maari Ma, Broken Hill City Council, Middlemen Event Management, Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre and the Far West Local Health District.

The organisation has a dedicated team that has supported the organisational change process. This has resulted in a clearer and more focused direction. The organisation is now on track and is ready to take leadership as a dynamic and collaborative partner in the Far West. As the report on working with our community and

This year I attended the Community Working Parties in Broken Hill, Wilcannia and Menindee. I have done so, as a sign of respect, to listen and to be accountable. As the CEO, I will continue to request attendance at the working parties meetings, to strengthen our organisational relationship and collaboration with the Indigenous Communities of the Far West.

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This year we also developed a bold and creative PowerPoint presentation for the 2012 Community Legal Centre State Conference. Our contribution was presented by Bronwyn Ambrogetti, Central Coast CLC and Truda Gray, Illawarra CLC in our absence. We entitled this presentation, Working Safely in Remote and Outreach Communities. This was a collaborative montage of voices and photos from the Far West region. Meg Kelly, Mariette Curcuruto, Linda Nadge, Bianca Cattonar, Stacey Jackson and I developed this presentation. The photos were all taken by Meg Kelly. An article in the NSW Law Society Journal resulted from this presentation, entitled Checklists Needed for Outreach Work. We have worked solidly as a team to demonstrate visible and transparent fiscal responsibility. Vicki Cullen, Prue Sulicich, Ellen Day, Mariette Curcuruto and Dale Sayers have supported me to make the best decisions. I believe that even though, financially, we have some significant challenges ahead of us, we are ready to face these, with pride and ingenuity.

navigate an extremely complex legal system and to be an active, vital and collaborative community partner, while also struggling for our own financial survival. As a result, difficult decisions may need to be made for the Far West Community Legal Centre and the Far West Women’s Domestic Violence Advocacy Service in terms of staffing and our legal service delivery strategy. However, along with our Board of Management, our Principal Solicitors and our other highly skilled team members, we will make these changes honourably and wisely. At the heart of all our changes, will be our communities. It is an immense honour to work in the Far West. I am inspired by all that has been achieved this year but I know that more is possible. Thank you for the opportunity to work in such an exciting organisation. Tracey Willow

I am indebted to the funders for their patience and their guidance. These include the funding managers from Legal Aid NSW – Bronwyn McCutcheon, Michelle Jones and Jenny Lovric and also from the Attorney General’s Department - Terina Koch, Richard Hampton and Lawrence Fatiaki. I am mindful that we work in a climate that politically and practically presents us with enormous challenges. Every day we strive to assist people to understand and

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Far West Community Legal Centre Annual Report 2012


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FAR WEST COMMUNITY LEGAL CENTRE LEGAL SERVICES REPORT

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Far West Community Legal Centre Annual Report 2012

EMPLOYMENT

In addition, on a really bright note, for the first time in a long time we have a fully staffed service. That means so much to service delivery, particularly to Outreach, increased availability for client appointments and also for community legal education and community development strategies.

OTHER CIVIL LAW

CRIME & TRAFFIC

Typically, other areas of high casework levels were credit and debt matters, assisting clients with government departments and accessing benefits, as well as general civil law. Additionally, a high proportion of crime and traffic matters were recorded this year – it is expected, with the extension of the duty lawyer scheme to Wilcannia - that the criminal law statistics will reduce in the coming year

CREDIT & DEBT

I cannot thank the wonderful people of the Northern Rivers CLC enough – not only did they “lend” us their stellar Principal Solicitor Ken Beilby for quite a period of time, but we have also forged a really strong partnership and mentoring/support relationship with Northern Rivers CLC. I am very grateful for that relationship. It has been so wonderful to work with Ken on practice management and accreditation issues. The warmth and willingness to assist in our sector, particularly within the Rural, Remote and Regional CLC network, always overwhelms me.

Of the 288 files handled this year, 33% were family violence matters – where clients were seeking assistance with Apprehended Violence Orders or Victims of Crime assistance. Unfortunately, a large proportion of the family law matters that the Centre provided advice on involved some element of family violence. It seems that this mirrors the statistics in our region. The Far West of New South Wales is widely recognised as a portion of the State with high incidents of family violence per head of population, with Broken Hill currently ranked 6th in the state, and parts of Central Darling Shire and the unincorporated zone have comparative rates of violence.

CONSUMER ISSUES

We have built some excellent partnerships this year – particularly with our justice partners Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre, Legal Aid NSW and Ashurst Lawyers.

CASEWORK

FAMILY LAW

It has been a year of change again for the Centre, but also a year of consolidation. We have spent a great deal of time thinking and planning for the future of the Centre – really looking at the casework guidelines of this practice to build a sustainable practice, aimed squarely at the clients who have the most legal need in our region.

95

ASSISTANCE WITH GOVT. OR BENEFITS

FAMILY VIOLENCE

FWCLC REPORT

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162

25 - 40 YRS

58

14 - 24 YRS

FILE NUMBER BY AGE

75

41 - 60 YRS

43

61+ YRS

22

In age range, the Centre services mostly people in the 25 to 40 age group. Unfortunately, this age group is also the group most likely to need assistance with family violence matters and family law. The Centre is also servicing younger people with these types of issues.

Far West Community Legal Centre Annual Report 2012


96 MEN

GENDER & IDENTITY In addition, demographically, our client group is approximately 64.5% female. Also approximately 32% of our client group identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

176 WOMEN

147

NONINDIGENOUS

172

LOCATION

69

Our clients are from the following geographic areas in the Far West region

ABORIGINAL OR TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER

10

OTHER

14 1

IVANHOE

Far West Community Legal Centre Annual Report 2012

BROKEN HILL

1 WHITECLIFFS

WENTWORTH AREA

38

WILCANNIA

9

MENINDEE

23


OUR TEAM I acknowledge gratefully, the passion and commitment of Ken Beilby, Ben Crompton, and Cindy Grahame, to the mission of the Far West CLC. I also acknowledge the contribution of Rachel Storey to the Centre. I also wish to acknowledge and thank the brilliant group of highly skilled women who make up our team: Stacey Jackson, our Reception and Intake Worker, Bianca Cattonar, our Paralegal, Cindy Grahame our junior Solicitor, Vicki Cullen, our Finance Officer and Tracey Willow, our fearless leader in all things CLC. These wonderful people have worked so hard, with such commitment to this service and the communities that it serves. It is wonderful to work in such a skilled, creative and supportive workplace. It is such a joy to be back with this wonderful team, working again for our clients. It is such an inspirational and happy workplace. I cannot thank all of my co-workers enough for their contribution this year.

COMMUNITY LEGAL EDUCATION & COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT Our Centre is taking a much more active role in community education and strategic involvement in areas of legal need within our community. Our Centre has worked on so many projects this year; too many to list. From Mental Health Month, to Children’s Week, to NAIDOC, to Reclaim the Night, the CLC has been everywhere, integrally involved in the planning and

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delivery of these events – bringing to the fore the legal issues that abound in our region.

proactive, not just reactive to the problem of domestic/ family violence in our community.

We are working on 4 strategies that are of great importance to our region.

3. The Far West Anti-Bullying Strategy

1. The Child Contact Centre Campaign The FWCLC has taken leadership on the issue of gaining funding for and creating a Child Contact Centre in Broken Hill. In conjunction with our community and government partners – Lifeline, Centacare, Centrelink, Broken Hill City Council, Police, Mission Australia, the Salvation Army, Compass Housing, Maari Ma Aboriginal Health, Far West Area Health – Primary Health, Warra-Warra Legal Service and the Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service, we are committed to tackling this important issue. As a Centre that deals with a great deal of family law and family violence matters, the need for this service, which places the safety and wellbeing of children first, is so important to the Far West. 2. The New Domestic/Family Violence Initiative The FWCLC is also leading the development of a regional strategic approach to family violence – with core aims of increased integration of services, a “no wrong door” policy, primary prevention strategies, resourcing and information promotion and working with the Liquor Accord. Again, this strategy sees us working in harmony with our community and government partners to try to affect real change in our region. It is inspiring and uplifting to be working within this group of talented and committed people and organisations; it gives us a chance as a service to be

We are also heavily involved in the development of an Anti-Bullying program – aimed both at schools and the broader community. Based on principles of respect and core values, this project, working with our community and government partners, including excellent collaboration with the Department of Education, aims at setting up a whole of community approach to this problem – inspiring young people to maintain respectful healthy relationships, but also challenging older members of society to model positive behaviours to young people as well. 4. The New Far West Community Legal Centre Education Strategy In addition, we are taking a strategic approach to delivery of community legal education, using media, our shop front and our community partners to spread the CLE focus each month. We have already delivered effective education on Legal Issues for Older people, Child Sexual Assault, the Rights of the Child, Mental Health Awareness and Domestic and Family Violence. Our last monthly topic for this year will be about Neighbours. The response has been overwhelming, and the number of people dropping past to see what is happening at the FWCLC has increased exponentially.

Far West Community Legal Centre Annual Report 2012


5. The Cross Roads Program We were also involved in organising and delivering the Crossroads program for Year 11 Students at Willyama High School. The part of the program that the Centre worked on was about Healthy Relationships. In conjunction with our community partners (including Far West Health, Max Potential and UNSW Students) we delivered the program focusing on a sense of self, discussing communication within healthy relationships, when violence becomes a cycle, and also diversity, including diverse sexuality and racial diversity. The message of the program was a challenge to students, becoming adults to think critically about what they believe, how they think and act. The program was received really positively by students. The Legal Team from the FWCLC wishes our community, justice and community sector partners and our Board of Management and FWCLC Inc. colleagues a safe and happy Christmas holiday period. We look forward to what the New Year brings for our vibrant and resilient communities in the Far West. Mariette Curcuruto, Principal Solicitor

Far West Community Legal Centre Annual Report 2012

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WARRA-WARRA LEGAL SERVICE REPORT

Warra-Warra Legal Service

26


WARRA-WARRA LEGAL SERVICE REPORT

Far West Community Legal Centre Annual Report 2012

The service also acknowledges a local artist, Tom Sloan for the design of the new logo. The future of the service is very positive having intensely focused on risk management, staff accountability and high quality service provision over the last 12 months.

Our re-launch of Warra-Warra Legal Service showcased a new and improved, culturally appropriate and accessible service. This included a new name, logo, identifiable staff uniforms and a new and more accessible legal service delivery approach. The event was celebrated with a smoking ceremony conducted by Aunty Maureen O’Donnell and traditional dancing by the Thankakali Spirit Catchers. The event was extremely well attended and included community Elders and community members, the Mayor Wincen

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OTHER

The most significant change for the service has been the re-launch strategy. After a year of community consultation, planning and development, the Broken Hill Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention Legal Service was officially renamed Warra-Warra Legal Service. This event was officially celebrated on 14 September 2012. Warra-Warra is a Baarkintji word meaning ‘side by side’. The new name is important for the local and surrounding communities and better reflects the community focus of the organisation. The name reflects our commitment to working side by side with the community and speaks loudly of our community’s need to work side by side to eradicate violence.

CARE & PROTECTION

Donna Kennedy came to Warra-Warra Legal Service in March 2012 as the Community Development Worker. In April 2012, Donna was recruited as the new Coordinator. Donna has played an integral role and has assisted in advancing the changes with passion and skill.

The Re-Launch of Warra-Warra Legal Service

VICTIMS COMPENSATION

12 months ago Leon Apostle, the newly appointed Principal Solicitor sat down at the drawing board with our Chief Executive Officer and devised a strategic plan. We proudly report that every item on that strategic plan has been undertaken and completed. As a result, the service has grown and evolved into one in which local communities can share immense pride.

Cuy, Board members, staff from FWCLC Inc., and other community sector workers. The new website can be found at: www.warrawarra.org.au

PERSONAL VIOLENCE ORDERS

Warra-Warra Legal Service is a vital and crucial service within the region. It is a service with great responsibility. The issue of domestic and family violence within the greater community but, more specifically, for local Aboriginal communities in the Far West of New South Wales is rife and causes generational consequences. Warra-Warra Legal Service now has a strong and committed team that will work together, with the FWCLC Inc. to honour its commitment to the Aboriginal communities in the Far West and meet its core business objectives.

The new Principal Solicitor and the new Coordinator have played an integral role in making the service more responsive to its communities

FAMILY LAW

Warra-Warra Legal Service has seen a dramatic change in service standard this reporting period, boasting some exceptional outcomes for clients both in and out of court.

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30

GENDER & IDENTITY

MEN

The majority of Warra-Warra Legal Service’s clients are Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander. The non-Aboriginal clients represent clients who have an Indigenous child/ren or the matter somehow largely benefit an Indigenous person or persons. While the vast majority of our clients are female, Warra-Warra Legal Service also assists a number of male clients in the midst of crisis, having been subjected to violence, or having had a child or children subjected to abuse, neglect or harm by the other parent or a family member.

104 WOMEN

113

11

NONINDIGENOUS

LOCATION Our clients are from the following geographic areas in the Far West region

123

ABORIGINAL OR TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER

6

OTHER

28

BROKEN HILL

9 WILCANNIA

2

4

MENINDEE

MILDURA

Far West Community Legal Centre Annual Report 2012


CASEWORK, OUTCOMES & THE TEAM Warra-Warra Legal Service’s activity reports highlights that the service currently retains 134 active files. From the period of November 2011 to November 2012, 117 new cases were opened by the service. 96 cases were closed by the service during the aforementioned period. These figures reveal significant movement where legal matters are concerned, disclosing legal matters arising and being resolved. Warra-Warra Legal team is focused on providing a premier legal service that is solution focused. The Legal team consisted of Ben Crompton, Mariette Curcuruto and myself. The Legal team has obtained some boast-worthy outcomes, namely: 1. Successful ex parte application supported by viva voce evidence for recovery of a child where client refused access by violent ex-partner 2. Dismissal of traffic charges for a client in crisis and in need of licence 3. Consumer Trader and Tenancy Tribunal order awarding client $8,000 in overpaid rent due to property being in a state of disrepair including relocation expenses and rent paid during period out of property 4. Successful dismissal of a matter under mental health legislation 5. Successful dismissal of driving charge under mental health legislation, where the client fled a

Far West Community Legal Centre Annual Report 2012

violent relationship in a vehicle 6. Numerous recommendations by Department of Families & Community Services for Restoration of Children in Care matter after intense casework. 7. Ex parte order providing client ‘Live With’ order directly after fleeing abusive relationship

REPORT FROM THE PRINCIPAL SOLICITOR As the Principal Solicitor, I have been given the great privilege this year of working alongside ethical, meticulous and passionate lawyers within Warra-Warra Legal Service. The above outcomes took a team approach and were generally obtained for clients functioning under acute crisis. Our in-house Legal Consultant Mariette Curcuruto, a highly experienced and seasoned advocate, has added dimensions to my understanding of legal practice. The pleasure of working alongside her and obtaining her professional opinions during her period as consultant has been invaluable. Losing her from Warra-Warra Legal Service was unfortunate for our service but of great importance to the Far West Community Legal Centre. I extend my gratitude for her support and unfailing assistance. I have also been given the privilege of supervising and training our junior Solicitor, Ben Crompton who very quickly proved himself to be a gifted and astute advocate. There has not been a moment where I have felt any trepidation in allowing him to continually take on more responsibility and more complex matters. I would feel deeply saddened if Ben Crompton discontinued practising as a solicitor beyond his

employment at Warra-Warra Legal Service. I extend my sincere gratitude to the Coordinator Donna Kennedy who has proven to be a bright light for the community and someone who has created and implemented a number of community-focused events. I additionally thank the staff of Far West Community Legal Centre for their support and especially give thanks to our Chief Executive Officer who has provided guidance, direction, strategy, creativity and structure.

COMMUNITY LEGAL EDUCATION & PROJECT WORK Overall, it has been an incredibly busy year for WarraWarra Legal Service. We have achieved so much. In all the work we do, we engage with the communities that we service, regularly attend Outreach, general community consultations and informal meetings. The legal, community development and administrative team members have been proud to be involved in the following: A number of victims’ compensation seminars were delivered in Wilcannia and the Broken Hill Correctional Facility. An inaugural Barbeque for Reconciliation Week. Outreach to Wilcannia to celebrate the launch of children’s play equipment, Fun Day in the Park as well as being part of the organising committee. The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day - which included a Fun Evening at Warra-Warra Legal Service, and celebrated the theme

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of Our Children, Our Culture, Our Way. Participating in Law Week celebrations in Broken Hill and Wilcannia. In Wilcannia we held a Barbeque and information stall. We sponsored the Alma Goats Women’s Soccer Team, managed by Robert Sloan, and provided new t-shirts with an anti-violence logo on it. Legal Service took part in the ‘Lovebites’ program delivered at Menindee High School, Broken Hill and Ivanhoe, as well as participating in running ‘Train the Trainer’ sessions. We enthusiastically participated in the NAIDOC week celebrations. Our involvement included office celebrations involving the local community and showcasing our services at Sturt Park in Broken Hill. We regularly attended Aboriginal Working Party Meetings where issues raised by the local Broken Hill Aboriginal community have been conveyed back to the office for regular discussions. Community issues have also been addressed appropriately via complaints and initiation of discussion with other service providers.

LEGAL REFORM WORK Warra-Warra Legal Service additionally sought Ministerial response regarding concerns about the Department of Families and Community Services. Issues raised included disproportionate intervention and removal of Aboriginal children, second and third generation care; female victims of domestic violence being dealt with without an understanding of complex issues surrounding family violence, and a challenge

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to appreciate the complex issues and adversities faced by our first people’s within the region. Relevant correspondence detailing the unique adversities facing community members in the region pertaining to serious lack of housing, lack of employment, isolation and family violence was forwarded in June 2012 to the Minister. Warra-Warra Legal Service continues to attend the domestic violence roundtable discussions regularly within Wilcannia alongside other regional service providers. We are also a member of the new Domestic/ Family Violence Working Party. We continue to work closely with police, Aboriginal Community Liaison Officers and the Broken Hill Domestic Violence Liaison Officer. It is important to highlight two important projects developed by Warra-Warra Legal Service that showcase the way in which this service has evolved.

CULTURAL AWARENESS TRAINING DELIVERED BY WARRA-WARRA LEGAL SERVICE Cultural awareness training was identified by the organisation as a key learning and development issue for all staff at FWCLC Inc. Anthony Hayward and Donna Kennedy developed and facilitated a full-day cultural awareness package which was delivered to staff on Friday 3 August at Kinchega National Park. All who participated agreed that this was a fantastic opportunity to share knowledge, gain an experience of Indigenous culture, kinship and Western law and

Indigenous law. It was also a valuable opportunity to learn more about the region’s local history and showcase the diversity of Aboriginal language groups in the Far West region. This was the first time that the organisation has facilitated such training and it will become annual training for the organisation, to enable all workers to build their knowledge and understanding. It has also provided the impetus for the development of a revised organisational policy framework that values and privileges Indigenous culture and will guide our organisational practice in the Far West.

NEW MEN’S GROUP AT WARRAWARRA LEGAL SERVICE The Warra-Warra Legal Service Community Development Worker, Anthony Hayward, initiated a local Aboriginal Men’s Group. This is an exciting development for the WarraWarra Legal Service and the service acknowledges Anthony’s leadership. While it is only in its early stages, Anthony has facilitated a few meetings, which have been well attended. It is hoped that next year the group will grow and more events will be organised throughout 2013. This is the last report from Leon Apostle. “As Principal Solicitor I thank everyone within the organisation for their kindness and commitment. I extend my support and look forward to continuing my professional relationships with everyone”.

Far West Community Legal Centre Annual Report 2012


Warra-Warra Legal Service also acknowledges the Board of Management and their colleagues from the Far West Community Legal Centre Inc. for their commitment to collaboration. Warra-Warra Legal Service has gone from strength to strength and now shines with pride and commitment. Warra-Warra Legal Service looks forward to all the opportunities that will emerge in 2013, as this will be a DEADLY year for the Warra-Warra Legal Service. Leon Apostle, Principal Solicitor & Donna Kennedy, Coordinator

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FAR WEST WOMEN’S DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ADVOCACY SERVICE REPORT

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FWWDVCAS REPORT Once again this year the Far West Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service (FWWDVCAS) has been busy and productive. We are continually working to maintain our links with the other agencies in the area and with the community. However we are always mindful that our Court work and being advocates for our clients is our main priority and we focus on this by our constant presence at all the Local Courts in our district (Broken Hill, Wilcannia and Wentworth). We are always available and easily visible to Court Staff, clients and other service providers. The service strives to maintain its involvement in community events such as Purple Ribbon Day, Reclaim the Night, White Ribbon Day, the 16 Days of Activism and Red Rose Day. These raise the profile of the FWWDVCAS in the community and with other service providers, and also publicises the message that Domestic Violence is not acceptable. Unfortunately this year Narelle’s involvement in the delivery of the LoveBites program into the schools was limited due to other WDVCAS commitments. As in previous years, the FWWDVCAS is actively involved in organising an event for White Ribbon Day. The White Ribbon Ball was unfortunately cancelled due to the lack of ticket sales. Given the importance of the issue of domestic/family violence and the effect on communities in the Far West, a second event has

Far West Community Legal Centre Annual Report 2012

been organised in the Town Square on 30 November 2012. This will include a ceremony to recognise local men who say no to violence against women, a BBQ, and live music and white ribbons will be given to men to wear. The White Ribbon event could not have happened without the generous support from workers from the Far West Community Legal Centre and numerous individuals (from Sydney, Blue Mountains, Newcastle, North Coast and Wagga) and businesses (local and from Sydney and the Blue Mountains) that have either financially supported this event or worked on fund-raising activities to make this happen. We have greatly appreciated Middlemen Event Management in assisting the team from FWWDVCAS and the FWCLC. While we are involved in many community events, we ensure that our core practice is met and maintained by the FWWDVCAS staff. We attend court on Tuesdays and Fridays and provide support and referrals to victims of Domestic Violence by offering them a safe and friendly environment to sit and wait in Broken Hill, Wentworth (1st Tuesday of each month) and Wilcannia (3rd Wednesday of each month).

WHAT IS AN AVO? An Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) is a Court order which prohibits a person from behaviour such as harassing or intimidating another person. The order itself does not give a criminal record. However the breach of an AVO is a criminal offence and the police

may arrest and charge a person who breaches an order. The purpose of an AVO is to protect a person against acts of violence such as physical assault, non-physical abuse such as harassment or intimidation, or damage or threatened damage to property. The victim does not have to be living with the person who abuses her. There are two types of AVOs, domestic and personal. This section is primarily concerned with domestic AVOs (i.e. ADVOs). ON WHAT BASIS IS AN AVO MADE? An AVO is made by a Magistrate if satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that the person who is seeking the protection order has reasonable grounds to fear and in fact fears that the defendant will commit a personal violence offence, or fears harassment, molestation, intimidation or stalking. A person under 16 years of age or a person who suffers from an ‘appreciably below average general intellectual function’ is not required to show the same level of proof. WHAT IS THE LAW? The law regarding Apprehended Violence Orders (AV0s) is contained in Part 15A of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). In April 2000, amendments to Part 15A made significant changes in relation to AV0s including the introduction of the distinction between domestic

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violence orders (ADVOS) and orders sought in relation to personal violence (APV0s). TYPES OF AVOS Although all AVOs operate in the same way, they are divided into two categories • Domestic (ADVOs)and • Personal (APVOs). • ADVOs Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVOs) are made when a domestic relationship exists between the victim (complainant) and the abuser (defendant).

obligations to Legal Aid NSW and have attended Network Meetings and training as required. This year as in other years, we were represented in Sydney at the WDVCAP Workers Forum. We welcome back Mariette Curcuruto and look forward to working with her as she has always been a great support to the FWWDVCAS and its staff. Being auspiced by a Community Legal Centre can often create issues for the WFWDVCAS, however, having a solid and collaborative working relationship with the Principal Solicitor ensures that effective and workable strategies can be put in place. This allows the WDVCAS to work more effectively with our clients and meet the outcomes required by our funding body.

APVOs Apprehended Personal Violence Orders (APVOs) are made to protect a person from an abuser (defendant) when there is no domestic relationship which links the two people, for example, neighbours or work colleagues. We successfully recruited a new outreach worker for the service in Wentworth, which means that for the first time in many years the service is fully staffed. We would like to point out however, that the times when the service is not fully staffed, it is always fully functional. The available FWWDVCAS staff always ensure that our clients are represented and advocated for by “stepping up“ and filling in at these times.

We would also like to thank Tracey Willow for her encouragement, support and motivation and for pushing us way beyond what we thought were our capabilities, to find our hidden strengths. As always, we would like to thank the Board of Management for their ongoing support and dedication to the whole service. The staff of the FWWDVCAS wish the Board of Management, the staff of the FWCLC and the WarraWarra Legal Service a very Merry Christmas and Happy and Prosperous New Year. Narelle Blows (left) Stacey Jackson (FWCLC, centre) & Loretta Stuart (right), FWWDVCAS Coordinators

The FWWDVCAS has continued to fulfill their

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Far West Community Legal Centre Annual Report 2012


48% 12%

WOMEN: EXPERIENCE OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DURING LAST 12 MONTHS

18 - 24 YRS

DOMESTIC / FAMILY VIOLENCE

9%

25 - 34 YRS

17%

7%

35 - 44 YRS

18%

5%

45 - 54 YRS

OTHER (INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS)

ACCOMMODATION

10% 2%

55+ YRS

Far West Community Legal Centre Annual Report 2012

FINANCIAL

WOMEN WITH CHILDREN: MAIN REASON FOR SEEKING ASSISTANCE

7% OTHER

2% HEALTH

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FAR WEST COOPERATIVE LEGAL SERVICE DELIVERY REPORT A partnership in legal service delivery

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ing ng Bri

it all tog

er eth

Cooperative Legal Service Delivery (CLSD) Program


FAR WEST COOPERATIVE LEGAL SERVICE 2012 has been a gigantic year for FWCLC and CLSD. We have averaged around 20 service providers at each meeting and have achieved some important changes in service delivery areas. Issues that arose in the February CLSD meeting include: •

The lack of a Child Contact Centre. The first working party meeting was held on the 6th August 2012 and convened by the Far West Community Legal centre and the Warra-Warra legal Service. Services were asked to submit case studies with the intention of forming a working party to lobby the government for funding. It was proposed that an existing service may be able to provide a venue and staffing if funding were made available.

Emergency housing, particularly aimed at youth and families with children over the age of 15 years suffering domestic violence is still an issue.

The Regional Coordinators’ meeting of CLSD senior workers was held in Sydney and the majority of coordinators voiced experiencing similar problems. Interagency meetings took up a fair amount of time and it was thought that they were not significantly productive. I find in the Far West region, I am attending several meetings a month and have reciprocal arrangements with the partners who are active members of CLSD. It seems that the urban areas are far more serviced with counsellors, support groups, early intervention, circle sentencing and child welfare groups. Far West Community Legal Centre Annual Report 2012

Several Fines Days were held in the Far West region at Broken Hill, Wilcannia and Menindee. These were well serviced by Legal Aid solicitors. Several service providers are Work Development Order providers. These are Centacare, Mission Australia, Murdi Paaki and Robinson College. March sessions attracted 42 clients from the three communities. Many of these clients were enlisted on Centapay payments through Centrelink and some were allocated Work Development Order positions. The Orders allow a person who has lost a driver’s licence due to unpaid fines to volunteer or attend sessions at an approved organisation and be eligible to ‘work off’ the debt to the State Debt Recovery Office. The Youth Interagency held a Drug and Alcohol Youth Forum in April with 12 service providers attending. The guest speaker Peter Slattery, therapist, educator and trainer, works with disengaged youth and expressed the importance of building resilience in young people. Education sessions covering topics such as the dangers of drugs and alcohol, and the relative successes of the programs available are planned. The Interagency Interagency in March 2012 saw 25+ services represented. Robert Sidford, NSW Department of State & Regional Development, facilitated the meeting, and spoke on the life span of the mines in Broken Hill and about the economic and social impact of living in a mining town. It was recommended that small businesses need to diversify and traineeships need to be established with a whole

of community approach to enable the town and community to survive. The May CLSD meeting was well attended with 23 partners at the table. A presentation by UNSW students on the homelessness project was well received. The need to raise community awareness around the number of homeless/couch surfing was identified as a priority. Identifying barriers or gaps in the system to better address this problem was also identified. This issue was also raised with John Williams, the Member for the Murray-Darling, who was unaware that such a problem existed in Broken Hill. Other issues identified, included the lack of affordable housing and housing availability. It was recommended that a Homeless Action Team be established. A report will be finalised and published. CLSD also welcomed Mandy Young, the Director from Victim Services, NSW Department of Attorney General and Justice. This presentation generated a lot of discussion and was well-received. In 2011, 65,000 people called Victims Services NSW. Of these, 6,500 had received counselling and 400 of these clients came from the Broken Hill area. Victims Services are committed to ensuring that clients have access to support throughout the entire process. These clients are offered access to the Victims’ Access Hotline, counselling, victims’ compensation and restitution under the Victims’ Rights Act. Meredith Osborne, Legal Aid NSW conducted Discrimination workshops in Broken Hill, Wilcannia and Menindee. These were very well-attended

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sessions. The common theme from these workshops was that Aboriginal people are discriminated against particularly in the areas of housing and employment. The Department of Immigration and Citizenship conducted an information session in July outlining the problems facing migrants in Australia. The time difference in processing immigration visa has been reduced from approximately 3 months to 11 days, once an employer has provided proof of sponsorship. More skilled migrants are coming to rural Australia. In 2012, 16,000 migrants were sponsored. State governments intend to sponsor 24,000 migrants in 2012/2013 with 3,000 of those people coming to NSW.

it. It was agreed that domestic violence was a major social issue, with Broken Hill ranking 6th in the state for domestic violence related incidents. A whole of community approach is needed and community education and awareness needs to be stepped up to combat this problem. I was able to report that FWCLC Inc. was forming a Domestic/Family Violence Working Party.

I also attended the ‘Skills for Collaborative Learning’ training in Sydney at the University of Technology. The training included how to plan projects and engage audiences, and the importance of aims and expected outcomes. Meg Kelly, CLSD Regional Coordinator

The CLSD has also been involved in many social networking events throughout the year. Two important examples include Agfair, where a wide cross section of the community attended and NAIDOC week events. Many justice and community partners supported both events.

Ruth Pilkington from the Child Support Services, Legal Aid, conducted an information session for service providers in September. The sessions in Broken Hill, Menindee and Wilcannia were well attended. Ruth provided free, confidential legal advice about a range of child support issues and family law problems. Emma Sharkey from the Office of Fair Trading addressed the CLSD meeting in August and gave an overview of Fair Trading and the changes in Australian Consumer Law. This included Indigenous community issues such as, door – to door trading and transient traders locking people into credit contracts. Fair Trading will conduct field visits and leading community consultations and education sessions, targetting Aboriginal people. At the Community Interagency Day held in October, 50+ service providers attended. Brian Smith, the facilitator, spoke of engaging community and working well as a community. The major focus of the session turned to crime in Broken Hill and how to address

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Far West Community Legal Centre Annual Report 2012


2012 FAR WEST WHITE RIBBON TOWN SQUARE RECOGNITION CEREMONY & BBQ FRIDAY 30TH NOVEMBER 2012 TIME: 12PM - 2PM RECOGNITION CEREMONY TO BE HELD AT 12.30PM Along with a FREE community BBQ & live music in the Town Square there will be a Recognition Ceremony. Men from our community will be recognised for standing up and saying No to violence against women.

FRIDAY 30TH NOVEMBER 2012

Men can sign the pledge cards and join other men all over Australia and say NO to violence against women.

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SHOWCASING: WORKING WITH OUR COMMUNITY & OUR SECTOR IN 2011 / 2012

40


NAIDOC

CELEBRATIONS

LAW WEEK

MENTAL HEALTH WEEK

WARRAWARRA LAUNCH

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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE WORKING PARTY

CHILDREN & THE LAW

CHILD SUPPORT INFOMATION SESSION

FUNKY JUNK MARKET STALL FUNDRAISER

OUTREACH STRESS LESS DAY

NATIONAL RECONCILIATION WEEK

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FINANCIAL REPORT

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FINANCIAL REPORT This year has been a year of significant change and readjustment for the finance officers at Far West Community Legal Centre Inc. With the appointment of our new CEO and the Treasurer, we have given greater attention to reviewing our budgets and our spending patterns and the financial processes guiding the organisation. This year resulted in making hard financial decisions to keep the organisation strong and financially stable. Overall, there has been a reduction in general spending and many new procedures have been put in place to meet the requirements of our funding bodies. This has led to greater transparency and tighter systems. For the most part, the outcomes have been very positive and it feels a lot more secure than the previous 12 months did. Most services have received their quarterly funding on time and all debts have been paid accordingly. The PAYG Group certificates have all been issued and finalised together with all superannuation guarantee payments. GST payments have been paid and all forms lodged up until 30/09/2012. Gallagher Bassett who holds our Workers’ Compensation policy has issued a hindsight adjustment. This was a large and unexpected bill. Once they received our actual wages for the 2011/2012 financial year, we were reclassified and became a medium-sized client. This, in turn, resulted in the

Far West Community Legal Centre Annual Report 2012

service taking financial responsibility for any claims attached to our account over the last three financial years. Because there have been some significant claims, it has resulted in a hindsight adjustment of $15,795.83. This has been paid by FWCLC Inc. The Audit for the Far West Community Legal Centre Inc. has been completed and includes the financials for the Far West Community Legal Centre, WarraWarra Legal Service, the Far West Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service and the Far West Co-Operative Legal Service Delivery Program. The financials, in the opinion of the auditor, are a true and fair view of the financial position of the Far West Community Legal Centre Inc. as at the 30th June 2011. The results of its operations for the year ended 30th June 2012 are in accordance with the accounting policies described in the audit notes of the financial statements.

WARRA-WARRA LEGAL SERVICE (WWLS) Financially, WWLS started the year with a surplus of $59,000.00. This was allocated to the purchase of a much needed photocopier and also towards retaining additional staff including the administration officer, community liaison officer and a legal consultant/ project worker. These employees were necessary to build stability into the service.

WWLS has seen the most change this year, with rebranding and the appointment of many new employees. This year, the Attorney General’s Department took back $60,000 from the service. This was part of a surplus that the organisation was carrying over from unexpended surplus funds. The service was also externally audited as part of the national review of Aboriginal Family Violence Services, and WWLS received a reported number of high risk areas requiring immediate attention. The Department sent two representatives to review the issues. We also provided the Department with a comprehensive audit plan and provided them with a greater understanding of what the new Finance Team had accomplished over the last twelve months, to ensure that we were financially accountable. We believe that we will be compliant by the end of 2012. Overall WWLS has greatly improved in terms of its financial management processes and the service is flourishing as a result. WWLS will tightly monitor its spending over the next financial year, and we believe that this will ensure that we meet our projected budgeted with little variance.

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FAR WEST WOMEN’S DOMESTIC VIOLENCE COURT ADVOCACY SERVICE (FWWDVCAS) This has been a bit of a tumultuous year for this FWWDVCAS. In previous years, we always ended the year with a significant surplus. However the 2011/2012 year ended did not produce this result. This was largely due to the fact that for the first time in many years, the service was fully staffed. This meant that one worker’s hours that were previously funded by surplus funds had to be reduced. The FWWDVCAS still held a surplus from 2010/2011 financial year of $20,820.00. We submitted a request to retain this amount and for it to be expended on various items such as new staff uniforms, new laptops, televisions and toys for safe houses, promotional banners, external supervision for coordinators and a team building event. A total of $9131.15 was approved by Legal Aid NSW. We applied for the remaining $11,688.85 to be used for the re-employment of the Broken Hill Court Advocacy worker for 7 hours a week. The funds will be expended before 30th June 2013. The FWWDVCAS have also taken the lead on an important educational strategy that will be held at the end of November 2012. Given that its funds cannot be used for such strategies, the Coordinators from the FWWDVCAS and workers from the FWCLC have been actively fund-raising in their spare time to make this event happen. This includes a ‘funky junk’ community market strategy at community events, garage sales and letter writing.

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Overall the FWWDVCAS is on track with their spending. The service’s Outreach travel expenses continue to cause the service concern, but they are being monitored and new strategies are being trialled to minimise the costs.

FAR WEST COMMUNITY LEGAL CENTRE (FWCLC) This year has been a challenging one for the FWCLC. The service has become much more frugal in its spending. The term deposit that was accumulated will be fully expended by 30th June 2013. The total auspice fees collected for the year account for $103, 750.95. This financial year, the Board of Management agreed to increase the auspice fee for the WWLS from 10 to 15%. The auspice fee for the FWWDVCAS and the FWCLSD program remains the same (5% respectively). This fee contributes to the wages for the finance team and the CEO and PII / legal supervision from the Principal Solicitor for the FWWDVCAS and FWCLSD staff. There are great concerns for the Public Purpose Funding. This funding pays the wages of the Junior Solicitor. Overall the FWCLC is working hard to maintain its financial stability and has initiated a lobby strategy to secure additional funding, ideally enhanced and recurrent core funding and to hold onto its exiting funding. The lobby team has developed a submission that has been forwarded to both the state and federal government. The service remains optimistic. It has also started a campaign of community income

generation and community awareness-raising through a ‘funky junk’ community market strategy at community events, garage sales and a Christmas raffle.

FAR WEST COOPERATIVE LEGAL SERVICE DELIVERY STRATEGY (FWCLSD) This is a small program that funds a worker 7 hours a week. The majority of its funds pay the worker’s hours. The Far West is extremely fortunate to have such a well networked, resourceful and enthusiastic Regional Coordinator. The funds for this program will be fully expended. In conclusion, we would like to take the opportunity to thank the Board of Management for their support and commitment throughout the year. The first six months of this year were very intense and we are grateful to the organisation’s Finance Team who have contributed an enormous amount of time and effort to get the organisation as whole, back on its feet. We particularly acknowledge Ellen Day, the Treasurer and Dale Sayers (WHK), the Auditor, for their expertise. We would also like to say a huge thank you to all our colleagues at FWCLC Inc. who have been supportive of all the changes and have done so with a high standard and without question. Prue Sulicich & Vicki Cullen - Finance Officers

Far West Community Legal Centre Annual Report 2012


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Far West Community Legal Services Group

Warra-Warra Legal Service

Cooperative Legal Service Delivery (CLSD) Program

A partnership in legal service delivery

ing ng Bri

it all tog er eth

FAR WEST C OMMUNITY LEGAL CENTRE INC.

Profile for Farwest CLC

FWCLC Annual Report 2012  

FWCLC Annual Report 2012  

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