Our collaboration with WEstjustice

 

Economic abuse is present in virtually all family violence situations and keeps women trapped and unable to leave. Frequently women are denied access to their own money and saddled with their abusers’ debts, fines and other legal issues. These debts often spiral out of control, placing women at risk of poverty and homelessness.

In 2018 a collaboration with the western suburbs’ legal service, WEstjustice, led to incredible outcomes for women dealing with these stressful and complicated situations. A lawyer and financial counsellor provided a weekly outreach legal service based in McAuley House. In just four months 24 women were relieved of more than $100,000 of crippling debts.

WEstjustice had already established relationships with industries such as banks, utilities and insurance companies who wanted to improve the way they dealt with women who were facing hardship because of a violent relationship. However WEstjustice realised they weren’t reaching women early enough. Partnering with us meant they could assist women promptly, before those problems escalated.

The WEstjustice collaboration also provided support with complexities in the intervention order processes, insurance and Centrelink issues. The WEstjustice project was funded from a philanthropic fund but is not funded for the upcoming year.