Queensland Law Society supports government and community efforts to fight domestic and family violence, with a focus on ensuring that lawyers are properly equipped to deal with the legal response to domestic and family violence.
Throughout Queensland, solicitors regularly spend long-hours toiling away, volunteering their time free-of-charge to assist significantly under-funded community legal centres to provide fair and equal access to justice to the community’s most vulnerable people.
CLC’s and their dedicated teams of lawyers are often the only lifeline available to people in times of crisis.
This, with thanks to Caxton Legal Centre, is one of those stories.
Jason was working 60 hours a week and not coping well with the adjustment to having a newborn baby, taking out his frustration using violence in the home he shared with his partner and young daughter.
Police applied for a domestic violence protection order requiring him to move out. Jason did not contest statements in the police application that on several occasions he had yelled at his partner and smashed property around their home.
Verbal abuse and damaging property in the family home is domestic violence under Queensland laws and a court can order a person to leave their home to keep the victim safe. This type of order can effectively bring to an end a relationship that the couple want to continue.
Safety of women and children is paramount. Changing the behaviour of men who use violence enables victims/survivors to be safe within relationships. When the service system is integrated there is a much greater chance and hope for safety to be realised.
Fortunately, Jason attended Caxton Legal Centre’s duty lawyer service.
He told the Centre’s duty lawyer: “I’m real stressed but that’s no excuse… I need help….”
Jason had not previously acknowledged his violent behaviour, nor was he engaged with any support services.
He was referred to Men’s Line and linked in with a behaviour change program. Had Caxton’s duty lawyer service been unavailable Jason may have appeared in court without legal representation.
He may have missed the opportunity to receive the referrals necessary for him to access help.
Because Jason acknowledged his behaviour was wrong and had been referred to appropriate support, the court made an intervention order, which is one type of domestic violence order.
An intervention order requires respondents – in this case Jason – to attend an approved intervention program and/or counselling to address his violent behaviour.
The court can only make an intervention order if it is satisfied there is an appropriate program or counselling available for a respondent.
This was assisted by the Caxton duty lawyer’s advocacy for Jason in the court room as she spoke about the multiple support programs Jason had linked with.
At the same time, Jason’s partner was able to receive assistance and supports from the Legal Aid Queensland duty lawyer and support workers.
With wrap around services and supports now assisting the family, the prosecutor and Magistrate were convinced that Jason’s partner’s safety was being well protected and Jason could return to live at home with his family, while seeking ongoing assistance for his behaviour.
Read Jason’s story here: https://caxton.org.au/jason-accesses-help-through-integrated-services/