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Persistence and dedication pays off

Our SWS WDVCAS LGBTQIA+ Focus worker achieves an excellent outcome for a client

June 1, 2024

Members of the LGBTQIA+ community face unique challenges when seeking support and protection from domestic violence.

Fear of discrimination or disbelief from authorities and service providers can deter them from seeking help, and they often must navigate a system that fails to inclusively recognise them, denying them the support they need.

A powerful example of overcoming these barriers is the work of our Sydney Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service (SYD WDVCAS) LGBTQIA+ Focus worker, Arianna*. She achieved an excellent outcome for our client Joanna*, who wanted to make a Victim Impact Statement at a sentencing hearing. Victim Impact Statements are not well understood and are infrequently seen in our Local Courts.

From the outset, Arianna supported and advocated for Joanna, ensuring her wishes were met. Arianna contacted the Prosecutor directly before the hearing, finding them more positive. With their support, our client Joanna was able to write a statement and attend the hearing.

While going to the police can be traumatic, LGBTQIA+ individuals often face the added stress of their cases not being categorised as domestic violence due to insufficient support within the system. However, in this instance, the Magistrate was receptive and encouraging.

The court was closed so Joanna could explain the personal impact of the crime without public observers. Joanna’s wishes were respectfully heard, and the Magistrate thanked her for her statement.

Arianna shared afterward that Joanna felt listened to and found the experience positive and affirming.

This story underscores the importance of inclusive recognition and support for LGBTQIA+ individuals in the justice system, particularly in cases of domestic violence.

*Names changed to protect privacy

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands, skies and waterways in which we live and work, the Gadigal, Cabrogal, Darug and Eora people. We pay our respects to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients, partners and community leaders.

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Level 4, 2-14 Meredith St, Bankstown
Darug & Eora Country, NSW 2200

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