Going to court can be stressful especially if you do not understand the legal process.
Knowing what you need to do, where you can get help and what is expected of you will reduce that stress.
Koolkuna Domestic Violence Advocacy Service
The Koolkuna Domestic Violence Advocacy Service specifically focuses on supporting women in the community experiencing family and domestic violence. This includes crisis counselling and safety planning, support through court process, advocacy, referral, information provision and educating the local community about the issues of domestic violence and where they can access services.
The Domestic Violence Advocacy Service (DVAS) has been operating from its own office at Lotteries House in Midland since April 2001 and in April 2007 began providing services from the Midland Police Station 2 days per week with an intention to increase this time and expand the service to Ellenbrook and other East Metro |Police stations in the near future. This service is easily accessible by public transport and is within easy walking distance of a number of important services including the Police Station, the Court, Women’s Health Care Place, Relationships Australia, the Department for Child Protection, Legal Aid, Centrelink and Department of Housing and Works. This maximizes client ability to access the service.
DVAS is firmly seen as a service operating in its own right although there are close links with Koolkuna Women’s Refuge and the Domestic Violence Agencies Network. The Manager of the Organisation meets regularly with the staff for supervision, and the Koolkuna/ERDVSN administrator deals with all the administration, other than client files and statistics.
The DVAS’s primary purpose is to provide information, support, advocacy, referral and education to individuals and communities to enable them to understand the effects of domestic and family violence and make informed choices. It does this in the following ways: • Assisting individuals to assess their own circumstances and relationships and make decisions and plans for their future. • Providing information to assist individuals and groups to understand Violence and Abuse, Safety Planning and Crisis Intervention • Court Support Service to the Midland Court to assist clients applying for Violence Restraining Orders and at Family Court regarding Children’s issues • Referrals and Support to Legal Aid and Legal Services Information, Support, Advocacy and Referral to appropriate Government and Community Services Community Educationwe give talk to groups out in the community (e.g. schools, TAFE and other agencies) We provide a "moving forward" program, which is healing by art, and we also provide a self awareness program.
We refer onto appropriate counsellors in the sector.
Safety Plans & Risk Assessments
Planning to leave safely is a must in a situation where domestic violence has been present in the relationship. Separation is the most dangerous time for the victims of violence.
These are some items you will need to consider and plan before you leave your abusive relationship
- Call the Police on the emergency 000 in any emergency situation – this can help with applying for a Restraining Order after separation.
- Know the phone number to Crisis Care to seek Refuge accommodation if unsafe to remain in the home PH: 9223 1111
- Talk to trusted neighbours about your domestic violence and encourage them to call the Police if they hear anything that sounds like abuse at your property. Develop a code like turning on the front house lights if you need help during the day and off at night. Speak to the neighbours about a code word the children will tell them that means they are to call the Police and you need help.
- Do not inform your children of your plan to leave
- Start to keep a diary of all incidences of abuse, dates, times, witnesses and injuries as you will need these for Court in the future.
- Know your partners schedules - this will assist you where and when he comes and goes. Be aware, he may be doing this to you already. Turn of your GPS tracking on your phone- if you don’t know how to do this speak to a phone carrier they will assist you
- Go to the post office - redirect your mail after the date you plan to leave so you will continue to receive mail that is important
- If you have been using the computer to browse information make sure you erase your browsing history - this includes your mobile phone as your partner may be checking it, if you have dialed for help immediately dial another number to prevent your partner using redial and finding out where you are.
- Take photos on your phone of any injuries after incidences of abuse.
- Always see your GP after an incident of abuse so they can record the details
- Supply your children who are old enough to understand with a code word that means - leave the house and go to the neighbor’s house - who you spoke to earlier and you discussed your safety plan. Always reassure your children to seek help, not to try to help you in a violent incident
- If you do not believe it is safe for the children to leave the property, then identify in your home with them a safe place where they can go until the police arrive eg a toilet with no windows and a lock even a pantry
- Keep your phone charged, with credit, and on you at all times
- Begin to clear your kitchen and any surfaces around the house of anything that could be used to attack you eg knives on the bench top
- Plan your escape: Pack a case with you and your children’s clothes, any medication you need to take, gather important documents like all passports, birth certificates, Marriage certificates. The children’s immunization records, your property lease or copy of your house title, Medicare card, bank details and place all statements with a safe person or with your new bank account – speak to your bank.
- Take any spare house keys you can find and place with a safe person- do this near the day of leaving to prevent alerting your partner
- Remove half of any money in the bank, open a new account and keep the details with a safe person. Only do this on the day you plan to leave or it can alert your partner.
- Park your car where it would be easy to escape and keep it toped up with fuel. Place your extra car key in a safe place outside your home where it would be easy to grab and go.
- Lock your car doors when travelling at all times after you have left the home
- If you can think of any other safety measure to put into place please act on it
- Contact DVAS if you need any further information
Domestic Violence Eduction
ERDVAS provide education services in the form of presentations and talks to groups in the community (e.g. schools, TAFE and other agencies).
We also provide a "moving forward" program, which is healing by art, and we also provide a self awareness program.