Social Work Program | Barwon Community Legal Service
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Social Work Program

We offer a free social work service to eligible clients to help them address their non-legal needs.

Our social work program was established in 2016, after it was recognised that many women experiencing family violence not only face complex legal issues, but also a diverse range of non-legal issues. It was evident that in order to provide holistic and person centred support to our clients, that the professions of social work and law should work alongside each other, both using a trauma informed lens in approaching their work.

Our free social work program is available to clients who are receiving assistance from our legal team and meet the required eligibility criteria.  Clients can let their lawyer know that they are interested in the social work program or their lawyer may recommend accessing the program.  Our lawyers will advise clients whether they are eligible and whether the social work team is currently accepting new clients.  If so, the lawyer will arrange a supported referral.

Social Work support is generally available to clients who are:

  • A current or past client of our service AND
  • 18 years and over AND
  • Have previously, are at risk of, or currently experiencing family violence AND
  • Live in the Geelong, Surf Coast, Bellarine or Colac Otway region

The social work program provides individual support tailored to each individual’s unique set of circumstances.  The support provided to one client, might look quite different to the support provided to someone else.  Social work supports may include some or all of the following:

  • Emotional support and counselling
  • Practical support, for example, support letters, assistance with applications/paperwork
  • Advocacy, for example, to arrange payment plans or support to deal with debts, tenancy issues or report FVIO breaches
  • Risk assessment and safety planning
  • Case management/co-case management with other providers
  • Warm referrals to other services, including, health, education, employment, mental health, disability, children and family services.
  • Information, consultation and non-legal advice
  • Interpreting services can also be accessed if needed

Over the past four years, many clients have reported that they feel better equipped to engage in legal processes when being supported with their other non-legal issues by a social worker.  Clients also find it helpful to speak with a social worker who has knowledge of the legal system.

Our social workers and legal team agree that working together in an integrated way informs each other’s work and enhances the quality of services that can be provided to clients.

Find out more

For more information about the Social Work program contact our Social Work team.

Email Emma Kennedy

Last modified on November 20th, 2020 at 12:13 pm

The content on this site is information only and is not legal advice. If you need legal advice please contact us.