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Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Program

Contact us

Call 1800 WDVCAS or 1800 938 227

List of WDVCAS Services

Who we are

The Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Program (WDVCAP) Unit administers NSW Government funding for a network of 27 Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services (WDVCASs) across the state. WDVCASs are locally-based, incorporated, not-for-profit, non-government service providers.

The WDVCAP Unit monitors WDVCAS service providers to ensure they meet their service agreement obligations, and women and children receive a professional and effective service. The WDVCAP Unit also provides training and mentoring to WDVCAS staff and seconded workers, to ensure adherence to the WDVCAP model of best practice service delivery.

The WDVCAP Unit works in partnership with NSW Police Force, NSW Local Courts, the Department of Justice and a range of other stakeholders such as housing and health services.

Who we help

WDVCASs provide information, advocacy and referrals to assist women and their children who are or have been experiencing domestic and family violence, with their legal, social and welfare needs. WDVCASs assist women to obtain effective legal protection through applications for Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVOs) at all 136 local court locations across NSW.

What we do

WDVCASs provide women and their children with information, advocacy and safety planning where appropriate. They provide referrals to services including housing, counselling, financial assistance or health services. A number of WDVCASs work with solicitors from the Domestic Violence Unit or Domestic Violence Duty Scheme, who can provide legal advice on matters including Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVOs), financial advice, family law, immigration and other issues.

Through these services, WDVCASs aim to provide victims with:

  • Improved access to and understanding of the ADVO and criminal justice process;
  • Effective legal protection through an ADVO;
  • Appropriate ADVOs designed to fit their specific needs;
  • Effective and appropriate legal representation;
  • Access to a support system that can assist them with their other legal and social welfare needs; and
  • Improved experience of the justice system, for example, being able to obtain an appropriate final order as quickly and efficiently as possible

Before court

If you have a domestic violence matter which is going to court and you want to know what will happen, the WDVCAS can provide you with information and referrals to other agencies and services for assistance. The WDVCAS will also let you know where they are located at the court so you can find them easily on the day.

At court

The WDVCAS will make sure you have a safe place to sit at court, give you information to help you understand what is happening, and work with you to get an order that is best for your situation. Where available, the WDVCAS will link you with free legal and other advice at court. We will keep you informed about the progress of your case, including any upcoming dates when you need to attend court.

After court

The WDVCAS may refer you to other services that can help you with things such as safe housing, income support, children's needs, family law and counselling. They will provide you with information about how to keep yourself and your children safe, and what to do if the abuse or control continues.

If your ADVO matter is set down for a defended hearing, the WDVCAS can organise for you to attend a hearing clinic which helps explain what happens at court on the day of the hearing. Some WDVCASs have specialist workers to help Aboriginal women, or women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Ask us if you need interpreter services.

Safer Pathway

In 2014 the It Stops Here: Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW (Safer Pathway) reforms were launched. Safer Pathway is a coordinated service delivery model for domestic violence victims across NSW.

Safer Pathway is fully operational across NSW. Safer Pathway comprises:

  • a common risk assessment tool (the Domestic Violence Safety Assessment Tool, or DVSAT), the use of which is mandatory for NSW Police Force state-wide, and encouraged for other service providers;
  • a streamlined referral pathway through an online platform, the Central Referral Point (CRP), managed by Victims Services;
  • consistent access to specialist domestic violence support for victims through a network of Local Coordination Points (LCPs); and
  • a priority, cross-agency response to victims at serious threat of injury or death due to domestic violence through Safety Action Meetings (SAMs).

The WDVCASs were chosen to host the LCPs for female victims due to their state-wide coverage, local knowledge, existing referral pathways and specialist knowledge.

LCPs provide clients with threat assessment, case coordination (i.e. warm referrals to local services for key needs) and safety planning. LCPs also provide victim liaison and secretariat support for SAMs.

Further information on Safer Pathway can be accessed here: https://www.dcj.nsw.gov.au/families-and-communities/safer-pathway