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New role for ECU in domestic violence initiative

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Tags: Homepage; Community; Engagement

The ECU Health Centre is the location for a range of new services to help victims of domestic violence, including legal advice, counselling and access to crisis accommodation.

And it will provide valuable practical placements for ECU students in many areas including Social Work, Nursing, Law, Teaching and Psychology.

Attorney General George Brandis QC and Minister for Women Michaelia Cash visited ECU to announce the co-location of a Domestic Violence Unit and Health Justice Partnership at the ECU Health Centre.

The Unit and Partnership are the result of the Federal Government’s $100 million Women’s Safety Package, first announced in 2015.

The services will be offered in partnership between the Northern Suburbs Community Legal Centre and Legal Aid WA.

Early detection
Senator Brandis said the health system can play a bigger role in supporting victims of domestic violence.

“The best diagnostic pathway into identifying problems of domestic violence was not necessarily through the legal system, but the health system,” he said.

“Because of course women who are the subject of domestic violence will most commonly present not to their lawyer – in fact few of them will have lawyers – and not necessarily to a community centre, but most commonly they will present to their GP.”

Mr Brandis also acknowledged that much of the success of the initiative would rely on volunteer work, including that provided by lawyers and law students from the School of Business and Law.

Practical experience for students
Anu Kothapalli is one ECU student who has already gained valuable experience by assisting those subject to domestic violence.

She completed a practical placement with the Northern Suburbs Community Legal Centre as an elective unit within her Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree.

 “I’m approaching the end so I thought this is an opportune time to get involved and turn the theory into practice,” she said.

“I feel quite strongly about those who are vulnerable and that’s why I wanted to do the unit.”

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