"A lot of problems women can solve themselves: they just need to know where to start."
DVRedress is a partnership between The Brigid Project and The People’s Solicitors. We help victim/survivors identify their legal issues and, where possible, support them to seek compensation and redress.
At DVRedress we know women come out of abusive relationships emotionally traumatised, in financial distress, and with a whole range of legal problems. They are lost, scared and don’t know where to start. And chances are, the abuser is still making life hell, frequently through misusing legal processes around property and children.
We help to develop a clear step-by-step plan to address each problem as efficiently and cheaply as possible. We will let you know where you will need a lawyer, the likely costs, and provide referrals to experienced lawyers.
We also help women seek redress and compensation for the damage they have suffered through:
Taking legal action to make the perpetrator pay for damage he has caused:
To you and your children (psychologically and physically)
To your property
To your finances
To your reputation and privacy.
Helping resolve housing issues by:
Advice on making him leave your home
Resolving tenancy issues that are a result of domestic violence
Helping to apply for victims’ compensation.
Referrals to financial counselling services to manage debt problems.
How much does DVRedress cost?
'We understand the complexity of domestic violence and financial abuse...'
The initial 30 min discussion and plan costs $60
($20 for Centrelink recipients; $40 for low waged clients).
Legal advice through the People’s Solicitors: costs are either funded by Legal Aid (where applicable), or on a fixed cost arrangement (this is dependent on the matter).
Legal advice obtained through external referrals: costs are determined by the solicitor or barrister, but we have negotiated lower rates for clients we refer.
* The problem: the costs of domestic violence to victims
Women who have been abused by their partners are left psychologically and emotionally traumatised. Financial loss is common through theft of the woman’s money, fraud, bad debts, damage to her property, and difficulties with employment. Physical assaults are emotionally damaging, and can also lead to serious and permanent injury. Leaving an abuser can leave a woman homeless or in insecure expensive accommodation. It usually also leads to expensive family law battles, and further emotional and financial damage. And commonly, even though the woman has left, the abuse continues and victims are threatened, stalked, defamed and subject to legal abuse and further financial abuse.
Victims are expected to deal with all the costs of being abused themselves. Victim compensations are tiny, and at best some free counselling.
Who is DVRedress for?
"Only some cases of domestic violence will be able to be the basis of legal action. Go through this check list to see if you might be able to take legal action against your abuser."
DVRedress is for women who have been victims of domestic or family violence (including abuse from husbands, partners, boy friends, casual dates or family members, whether that abuse is emotional, physical, sexual, financial or otherwise).
TAKING ACTION AGAINST AN ABUSER
Domestic violence causes massive emotional and financial damage – and sometimes physical injury. It is possible to sue your abuser for damages, and successful damages payouts have ranged from $50,000 to nearly $1 million (See case studies [LINK]).
Only some cases of domestic violence will be able to be the basis of legal action. Go through this checklist to see if you might be able to take legal action against your abuser.
SAFETY: If I take legal action I am afraid of what my ex partner will do. ASSESS
Suing your ex is not worth risking your life and safety. Think carefully about the risks before commencing legal action.
MENTAL HEALTH: My mental health is very fragile.
Taking legal action is tough and can take a long time. Although we will support you through the process, and women can find the process extremely empowering - think carefully about the costs to your mental health.
TIME TO BRING AN ACTION: The abusive acts need be within the last 3 years.
You are limited to taking action on abuse that happened within the last 3 years (or 6 years for financial loss). If the abuse has been particularly horrific you may be able to bring an older case to court. But for abuse that happened over 3 years ago, and you have no reason for not acting, you will be ‘out of time’
TYPE OF ABUSE: Only certain types of abuse can be the basis for legal action.
The abuse included any of the following: physical assault (no matter how minor), sexual or indecent assault, threats to kill or harm me or my children, damage to my property, stalking or harassment (e.g. constantly coming to your house or place of work), imprisonment (e.g. locked in your home/prevented from leaving), fraud (e.g. signing loan documents in your name), deception to obtain an advantage over you, defaming/telling lies about you to other people.
-Unfortunately you cannot sue if there has only been emotional/psychological abuse, unless the psychological abuse caused a psychiatric injury.
EVIDENCE: You must have evidence of what happened.
You will need evidence of domestic violence, such as police reports, hospital and social worker reports, photographs, recordings, texts, statements from your GP, counsellor or psychologist.
HE CAN PAY: There is not much point suing someone with no money or assets to pay damages.
If you would like to talk with us further about whether you have a good case, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org (please make sure you use a safe email address, set up since you left your partner on a safe device).