Through a partnership with Legal Aid NSW, SSI is helping to introduce the subject of family safety and law to newly arrived refugees and migrants through a series of specially designed information sessions across western Sydney.
All newly arrived people supported by SSI already take part in orientation sessions that include information on housing, budgeting, transport, caring for children and family and domestic violence; However SSI case managers identified the need to deliver family related information in a more focused way.
It was also identified that gender-specific information sessions be held to enable women and men to talk more freely.
To complement the introduction of targeted information sessions, the partnership decided that the provision of similar information for SSI staff would enable case managers to support victims of domestic and family violence, and issues of child safety more effectively.
This would allow staff to recognise the signs of domestic violence or child neglect when working with the people they work with, and better understand where and how to refer them for help. It was also identified that providing specific information about legal avenues and specialist services referral points would greatly enhance their existing knowledge.
Since October 2015, 50 staff and volunteers have received training, and 50 workshops in eight languages are scheduled until June 2016, delivered by domestic violence and early intervention Legal Aid NSW solicitors.
SSI Manager of Humanitarian Settlement Services, Yamamah Agha said that raising a family in a new country can be quite a daunting experience for some.
“The associated challenges of a lack of English language, isolation, traumatic journeys, being far from family, friends and networks can create a challenging settlement environment and tension within the family,” Ms Agha said.
SSI and Legal Aid NSW already work in partnership to deliver civil and family law services to refugees and migrants on site at Migrant Resource Centres.
The alliance was formed in response to a report released in 2012 by the Family Law Council (FLC) of Australia, which found that the failure to address issues faced by clients of culturally and linguistically diverse background, at an early stage, was having detrimental effects on the long-term welfare of refugees and migrants.
“Legal Aid NSW is pleased to build on our relationship with SSI to deliver vital family law information to help in ensuring that newly arrived families understand their rights and responsibility within the Australian context,” said Executive Director, Family Law
Legal Aid NSW, Kylie Beckhouse.
Ms Agha added that SSI was committed to ensuring that all newly arrived families in NSW are supported to be able to fulfil their potential as members of the Australian community.
“Legal Aid NSW shares our commitment and together we strengthen the community and set a precedent for a first rate service delivery model,” Ms Agha said.