Day 8 – Belinda, DVCS Criminal Justice Advocate

Name: Belinda

Position: DVCS Criminal Justice Advocaate

When did you start working with DVCS: October 2013

Why did you want to work/volunteer with DVCS: My goal was always to work within social justice and I was particularly interested in issues facing women. My first interaction with DVCS was doing domestic violence training while volunteering for another organisation and I remember thinking how much I would love to work there! I think I was just really impressed by the work they were doing and the organisation itself.  Not too long after I started at DVCS in my role as a Criminal Justice Advocate where I support people subjected to violence where the person using violence has been charged and the matter is proceeding through the criminal court process.

What is your favourite thing about working at DVCS: I love my role and the work I get to do with clients but one of my favourite things about DVCS is the people I work with.  DVCS has staff from such a variety of disciplines and backgrounds and I’m always learning new things off the people I work with.

What do you think is unique about DVCS: Within the ACT there is no other organisation like DVCS.  Speaking from the perspective of my role as a Criminal Justice Advocate, as a non-Government organisation, DVCS is written into the domestic violence legislation.  This allows us to have access to information about criminal matters and enables us to support our clients in the way that we do.  We also have long established relationships with the many other agencies that are involved when a criminal matter is ongoing.

Obtaining information about what’s happening with a Court matter can be difficult, confusing and overwhelming for clients and providing this information can be time intensive for police and prosecutors who have other responsibilities.  My role as a Criminal Justice Advocate allows information, which is often central to a person’s safety, to be received and shared in a timely manner.

How would you like to see the DFV landscape change over the next year: Over the next year I’m hoping people subjected to domestic and family violence will be able to access more support to allow them to take their pets with them, rather than often having to surrender them or leave them with the person using violence.