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Legal Aid NSW Domestic Violence Unit : process evaluation of the first nine months Christine Coumarelos, Suzie Forell, Amanda Wilson and Maria Karras

By: Coumarelos, Christine.
Contributor(s): Forell, Suzie | Wilson, Amanda | Karras, Maria.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: Sydney, NSW : Law and Justice Foundation, 2018Description: electronic document (132 pages); PDF file.ISBN: 978-0-9945950-6-5.Subject(s): Legal Aid NSW Domestic Violence Unit | DOMESTIC VIOLENCE | EVALUATION | FAMILY LAW | INTERVENTION | INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE | JUSTICE | LEGAL AID | LEGAL SERVICES | SOCIAL WORK | SUPPORT SERVICES | AUSTRALIAOnline resources: Click here to access online Summary: The Domestic Violence Unit (DVU) of Legal Aid New South Wales (Legal Aid NSW) began operation in January 2016. It was established in response to an identified need for a more integrated and intensive response to the complex legal and non-legal needs of people experiencing or at serious risk of domestic and/or family violence (DFV). The DVU includes both lawyers and dedicated social workers and provides free legal advice, assistance, advocacy, ongoing litigation casework and social work support to help people experiencing DFV to stay safe and rebuild their lives. The DVU operates duty lawyer services at four local courts, two legal advice clinics, a telephone/email/webcam legal advice line and social work support services, and provides grants of legal aid. The Law and Justice Foundation of NSW (the Foundation) was engaged by Legal Aid NSW to articulate a program logic for the DVU that would detail the DVU’s aims, nature and desired outputs and outcomes. Using this program logic as a basis, the Foundation was engaged to conduct a process evaluation of the DVU’s first nine months of operation, to examine its early implementation and inform any refinements to improve its operation. The Foundation also developed an evaluation framework that included a plan for the ongoing monitoring of the DVU, as well as a broad plan for an outcome evaluation to assess the DVU’s impact on client outcomes, which was to be conducted at a later date. This report focuses on the process evaluation of the DVU, but also presents the program logic and broad evaluation framework. The process evaluation of the first nine months of implementation of the DVU indicates that, overall, the DVU appears to be operating consistently with its aims. The DVU reached disadvantaged people, predominantly women, who were experiencing DFV. More than two-thirds (69.1%) of DVU clients had dependants, more than half (51.8%) spoke a main language other than English, two-thirds (67.6%) were not employed and almost two-thirds (63.7%) received government benefits. (From the Executive summary). Record #5807
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The Domestic Violence Unit (DVU) of Legal Aid New South Wales (Legal Aid NSW) began operation in January 2016. It was established in response to an identified need for a more
integrated and intensive response to the complex legal and non-legal needs of people experiencing or at serious risk of domestic and/or family violence (DFV). The DVU includes
both lawyers and dedicated social workers and provides free legal advice, assistance, advocacy, ongoing litigation casework and social work support to help people experiencing DFV to stay safe and rebuild their lives. The DVU operates duty lawyer services at four local courts, two legal advice clinics, a telephone/email/webcam legal advice line and social work support services, and provides grants of legal aid.


The Law and Justice Foundation of NSW (the Foundation) was engaged by Legal Aid NSW to articulate a program logic for the DVU that would detail the DVU’s aims, nature and
desired outputs and outcomes. Using this program logic as a basis, the Foundation was engaged to conduct a process evaluation of the DVU’s first nine months of operation, to
examine its early implementation and inform any refinements to improve its operation. The Foundation also developed an evaluation framework that included a plan for the ongoing monitoring of the DVU, as well as a broad plan for an outcome evaluation to assess the DVU’s impact on client outcomes, which was to be conducted at a later date.
This report focuses on the process evaluation of the DVU, but also presents the program logic and broad evaluation framework.

The process evaluation of the first nine months of implementation of the DVU indicates that, overall, the DVU appears to be operating consistently with its aims.
The DVU reached disadvantaged people, predominantly women, who were experiencing DFV. More than two-thirds (69.1%) of DVU clients had dependants, more than half (51.8%) spoke a main language other than English, two-thirds (67.6%) were not employed and almost two-thirds (63.7%) received government benefits. (From the Executive summary). Record #5807