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Family violence: it's everyone's problem – and we can all be part of the solution

Family violence: it's everyone's problem – and we can all be part of the solution


Yesterday was White Ribbon Day – the male-led campaign to end men's violence against women. This is a day that raises awareness that violence against women is not just a women's issue – it's a men's issue too. From the ongoing efforts of Rosie Batty, to the Royal Commission into Family Violence, family violence and violence against women has been in the spotlight this year. It is now clear to all that this is not just a women's issue and it's not just a men's issue. It is an issue for all of us, as a community. Family violence hurts us all and we must all work together to solve it. It's a lawyer's issue Family violence is a lawyer's issue too, and our role in supporting people affected by family violence (both victims and alleged perpetrators) is only set to increase. Many lawyers have been at the frontline of family violence for years. For others, the focus on family violence has shown us that the issue is not limited to family law or criminal law jurisdictions. It can be seen in any area of law that involves people – all areas. Violence can be partner against partner; parent against child; and child (adult and minor) against adult. Even corporate lawyers need this on their radar. An organisation may not be affected by family violence, but the people who work within the organisation may be. What would you do if one of your instructors showed signs of being affected by family violence? We now know that the most vulnerable time for a woman subjected to family violence is when she tries to leave the person abusing her. This usually coincides with the woman contacting the legal profession, whether that is a private practitioner, CLC or legal aid lawyer. For elderly victims of abuse, a visit to a lawyer for a routine update of a will may be the only chance they have to reach out and alert someone to the abuse they are experiencing.

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