Territory Stories

Annual Report 2020-2021, Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission



Annual Report 2020-2021, Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission

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Tabled Paper 433


Tabled Papers for 14th Assembly 2020 -; Tabled Papers; ParliamentNT




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Tabled papers

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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n o rt h e rn t e rr it o ry l e g a l a id c o m m is si o n a n n u a l re p o rt 2 0 2 0 /2 1 0 3 0 wanting to engage with the Disability Royal Commission. The NT Legal Coordinator commenced in March 2020 and operates within the Civil Law Practice. The Legal Coordinator has developed, built and maintained local relationships with stakeholders to contribute to and support YSDLS local service delivery in the NT. This has included: Establishing a local network of NT funded stakeholders; Organising information sessions for community members and service providers; Community outreach to regional and remote communities in the NT; Undertaking CLE to different stakeholders; and Creating engagement strategies to target priority groups, such as people from a culturally and linguistically diverse background. The Legal Coordinator has provided legal advice to people with disability, their family members, carers, and supporters about engaging with the Disability Royal Commission, such as in relation to privacy, confidentiality, naming names, and criminal offences. The Legal Coordinator has also worked closely with clients to support them prepare for private sessions. The Legal Coordinator has facilitated timely and accurate client referrals to legal and support services, including to the Civil Law Practice for advice on ancillary legal matters. Respondent Early Assistance Legal Service The Respondent Early Assistance Legal Service (REALS) forms part of NT Legal Aid's Family Advocacy and Support Services (FASS). It provides a duty lawyer service to defendants of domestic violence order applications at Darwin Local Court, free legal advice clinics, limited legal task assistance and warm referrals to legal and non-legal services. A dedicated mens support worker assists with referrals to mens behaviour change programs, counselling, drug and alcohol rehabilitation and family law parenting and property advice. REALS help to resolve Domestic Violence Order (DVO) applications in a timely manner with conditions that are suitable to the circumstances, thereby reducing the number of DVO breaches and domestic violence recidivism. Most matters resolve quickly by consent after some legally assisted negotiations. In limited cases, applications are withdrawn on the basis that the defendant enters into an undertaking or after a successful trial period where an interim order is in force. In some cases, limited task assistance is provided in family parenting and/or property related matters if our involvement is likely to assist resolving wider issues in dispute. This increases the number of amicable arrangements that can be made regarding the children and property of separating couples. This year the demand on the REALS service increased directly due to the historic high number of domestic violence order applications lodged in the Darwin Local Court. We believe this is related to the more than 50% increase in domestic and family violence related offences in the Darwin region in this year1 Our Principal Functions (continued) Disability Royal Commission Info session by Top-End service providers 1 https://pfes.nt.gov.au/police/community-safety/nt-crime-statistics/darwin https://pfes.nt.gov.au/police/community-safety/nt-crime-statistics/darwin

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