I need help with legal advice

Knowing your legal rights is important when separating yourself from domestic or family violence. The legal world can be confusing but you and your children have a RIGHT TO BE SAFE.

Find out the facts

  1. Get correct information. The only people who can give you legal advice are registered lawyers.
  2. Find a lawyer who knows about dealing with domestic or family violence.
  3. You don’t need to be intimidated by the cost of legal help. There are services set up to help you find and pay for the help you need.
  4. You have a right to be listened to and taken seriously. You can seek the support of a domestic violence support worker to help you navigate this system, or you can try a different lawyer or legal support service.
  5. It’s ok to say you don’t understand something, or need more information.

 

Services for me
Speaking to your local domestic violence agency is a good place to start before you talk to the agencies below and they can help you find out the best service to go to first.

Domestic violence agencies

  • Southern Adelaide Domestic Violence Service
    (08) 8382 0066
    Monday–Friday, 9am–5pm
  • Ninko Kurtangga Patpangga
    Southern Regional Aboriginal Family Violence Service
    (08) 8297 9644
    Monday–Friday, 9am–5pm

Legal services
Legal Services Commission
http://www.lsc.sa.gov.au/
For free legal advice and information call the Legal Help Line on 1300 366 424. Between 9am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday. They offer appointments with a Family Violence Adviser who can provide advice about your legal concerns and support you to apply for legal aid.

Women’s Legal Service
http://www.wlssa.org.au/
This phone advice line is available to all women in South Australia and operates between 10am to 4pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and between 6pm to 8pm Tuesday evening. Call 8221 5553 or for country callers 1800 816 349. WLS may also be able to offer you an appointment to discuss your legal concerns and in some cases offer representation.

Community Legal Centres
http://www.naclc.org.au/
Community Legal Centres offer free legal advice and sometimes legal representation.

Justice Net SA
http://www.justicenet.org.au/
This service helps people who are financially disadvantaged to get legal support. If you have not been able to access legal support through Legal Services Commission or a community legal centre, you may be eligible to receive assistance.

Family Relationships Advice Line
http://www.familyrelationships.gov.au/services/fral/pages/default.aspx
1800 050 321 (operates 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm Saturday). This is a national telephone service established to assist families affected by relationship or separation issues.

Family Law Courts National Enquiry Centre
1300 352 000 (operates 8.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday). This service does not provide legal advice but can offer information about family law processes and referrals for legal advice.

Private Lawyers
There are many lawyers in the community that handle family law matters but if you are reliant on legal aid it is a good idea to check that they accept legal aid cases. To find a private lawyer, you can contact the Law Society on 8229 0222. They also offer an online referral service. Some lawyers will offer a free 30 minutes consultation, and some will support you to apply for legal aid.

 

I need help with the Department of Human Services (Centrelink)

If you are thinking of separation, about to separate or have separated, you may need to apply for income support through the Department of Human Services (previously Centrelink) http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/information/centrelink-website. You may wish to talk to a social worker at Centrelink on 13 17 94 to find out more about what support you may be able to receive.
Depending on your personal circumstances, you may be eligible for a particular payment type, the most common of which are:

  • Parenting Payment Single 13 61 50
  • NewStart Allowance 13 28 50
  • Disability Support Pension 13 27 17
  • Special Benefit 13 28 50
  • Youth Allowance 13 24 90

In particular, you may be eligible for a crisis payment, exemption for your participation requirements, and/or exemption from claiming Child Support.
In addition, you may need to contact Centrelink to discuss your entitlement to Family Tax Benefit Part A and Family Tax Payment Part B (sometimes called Family Allowance).

Services for me
These services are set up to assist you in dealing with Centrelink. You can also gain support and information through a domestic or family violence worker.
Welfare Rights Centre 8223 1338
Legal Services Commission’s Advice Section 8463 3555

Do you speak another language?
Visit Centrelink’s We Speak Your Language webpage
http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/information-in-your-language/
Or contact the Centrelink Multilingual Call 13 12 02.

Are you are an Aboriginal and/or Torres Straits Islander woman?
Visit Centrelink’s Indigenous Australian’s webpage http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/themes/indigenous-australians
Or contact their Indigenous Call Centre 13 63 80.

I need help with child support
If you have separated and have children in your care, you may be entitled to claim Child Support.
You can apply for this through the Department of Human Services 13 12 72 http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/child-support/child-support-online-services.
You have 13 weeks to apply for Child Support. If you do not apply within this period, your Family Tax Benefits may reduce. However, if you are fearful of applying for Child Support due to your ex-partner’s reaction and risk to your safety, you can apply for an exemption by contacting a Centrelink Social Worker 13 17 94.
These services are there to assist you in dealing with Child Support.
Legal Services Commission Child Support Unit 8463 3576 or for country callers 1300 366 424.
Community Legal Centres in particular the Child Support Service run by Southern Community Justice Centre http://www.scjc.com.au/childs.htm.
You can also gain support and information through a domestic or family violence worker.

 

I need help from the police
Police are there to help if you are in danger. They can come to your property to provide assistance to keep you and your children safe. You may have experienced violence that has not involved police at the time but can report things later. As certain elements of domestic violence are criminal acts (e.g. physical assault, rape and sexual assault, property damage, deprivation of liberty, stalking, breaching intervention orders) they may lay charges against the abuser. Police can also support you to get personal belongings if you have fled your home.

To find out more about reporting to police, proceeding with criminal charges and other services for victims of crime.

 

Intervention orders

An intervention order is an order by a court (or an interim order issued by police) that prevents a person abusing, harassing, threatening or using violence against you. Ideally, an intervention order will stop that person from contacting or approaching you. Intervention orders can help keep you safe in your own home or anywhere else.
Contact the local Police Family Violence Investigation Section to find out more about getting an intervention order.
South Coast – 8392 9172
For other locations check http://www.sapolice.sa.gov.au/sapol/safety_security/domestic_violence/help_support_for_domestic_violence.jsp
If you want to stay in your home you can also get help to make sure your home is as secure as possible through the Victims Support Services Stay home Stay Safe Program 8231 5626 or 1800 182 368. You can also see website for more information http://www.victimsa.org/for-victims-of-crime/staying-home-staying-safe