Please note: as of 1 July 2020, this service is no longer provided by Relationships Australia Victoria.
Relationships Australia Victoria (RAV) is leading a new pilot service supporting Vietnamese families through family law disputes, including those affected by family violence.
In partnership with a range of local services, RAV is providing free, legally-assisted and culturally appropriate family dispute resolution for Vietnamese families experiencing separation and divorce in western Melbourne.
The Safe Resolutions service, which is funded by the Attorney-General’s Department, aims to enhance access to proactive, educative and early intervention services including family dispute resolution, education sessions, legal representation and family violence support.
It involves Vietnamese-speaking program facilitators who understand cultural differences and translators trained in areas relating to family law and dispute resolution.
Safe Resolutions is delivered through RAV’s Sunshine Family Relationship Centre, in partnership with the Australian Vietnamese Women’s Association, Brimbank Melton Community Legal Centre and WEstjustice.
RAV’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Andrew Bickerdike, said that RAV had extensive experience and expertise in providing family dispute resolution, and recognised the unique challenges faced by people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds who are navigating through the family law system.
“We have more than 30 years’ experience supporting families to resolve their family law disputes,” Dr Bickerdike said.
“We recognise that people from diverse backgrounds may encounter additional challenges when faced with family law difficulties, particularly as a result of language barriers, limited knowledge and awareness of our justice or support systems, including court processes, and cultural differences.”
Existing culturally specific services are highly trusted by communities, however do not specialise in legal or family violence issues. The Safe Resolutions service is enabling RAV to partner with these valued services to provide a comprehensive, culturally appropriate service for separating families.
“We welcome the opportunity to work with other local organisations to provide this important service that will help members of the Vietnamese community to reach fair, safe and sustainable agreements.”
Dr Bickerdike also stated that separating and divorcing clients were often affected by family violence.
“Family violence is regrettably common in family law disputes. For this reason, it is vital that services are available to support families to safely participate in family dispute resolution, where appropriate.”
The Safe Resolutions pilot commenced in September and will run for two years.
Safe Resolutions is one of eight pilot services in Australia, funded by the Commonwealth Government as part of the Third Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022. For more information visit www.relationshipsvictoria.com.au/safe-resolutions
Senior Manager Western Region
Ph: 0447 490 004
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