Last week (May 2017), changes were announced for NSW Courts encompassing the appointment of two new magistrates for NSW and also the launch of the Family Advocacy and Support Services (FASS) in Parramatta.
Attorney General Mark Speakman, in a Media Release, announced the appointments of barrister David John Price and solicitor Joy Boulos as magistrates of the Local Court of NSW on 17 May 2017:
"Mr Price and Ms Boulos are highly-skilled practitioners who bring a combined total of 44 years of legal experience to the bench of the Local Court."
Mr Price and Ms Boulos will be sworn in as Magistrates on 22 May and 29 May respectively.
According to a Media Release from the Attorney-General on 17 May 2017, the Family Advocacy and Support Service (FASS) was launched at Parramatta, providing legal and social support services to clients affected by family violence in the family law courts.
According to the Media Release, this new service integrates duty lawyers with specialist family violence workers to help families navigate between the federal and state court systems and connect people with trauma-informed help such as risk assessments and safety planning.
Legal Aid NSW Family Law Director Kylie Beckhouse said:
“Family Advocacy and Support Service lawyers will ensure the voices of family violence victims are heard – whether that is by helping gather evidence so that courts have access to a more complete picture of a family’s situation, or by representing a parent in an urgent application...But it also goes beyond providing much-needed legal support to treat the client as a whole person, with a unique story and a unique set of social and practical needs that extend well past the courtroom door. This approach recognises that families affected by violence may also have complex non-legal needs in areas like housing and mental health.”
23 Family Advocacy and Support Services are being established by legal aid commissions across Australia – 14 of which are already operating. Legal Aid New South Wales operates this service in Parramatta and others in Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong, and partners with Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services and Relationships Australia to ensure clients also receive necessary social support.
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