National Family Violence Prevention and Legal Services Forum

The FVPLS Member Services are organisations controlled by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations – our communities know and trust our people and our services. Nationally, 95% of clients are First Nations women and children, and SPLF services are unique, experienced and specialized organizations that provide culturally safe legal and other services that recognize and celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. Rates of violence against First Nations women are 34 times higher than other women in Australia and up to 80 times higher in the worst parts of the country. SPLF members also provide important community legal education, as well as early intervention and prevention services, as well as cultural support programs. For a list of member organizations and their locations, see Where We Are. Three (3) out of five (5) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have experienced physical or sexual violence. First Nations women are also 34 times more likely to be hospitalized due to family violence than non-Indigenous women and 11 times more likely to die from assault (AIHW 2019, p. 113). Family violence is also the number one reason First Nations children are not in care at home, and 88% of Indigenous children in care have experienced family violence. Family violence has been associated with a variety of negative health outcomes, including higher rates of miscarriage, preterm birth and low birth weight, depression, anxiety, suicide, and other long-term health outcomes for women and children (AIHW 2019, p. 115). The Forum is supported by a secretariat and Forum members are represented at Forum meetings and activities by their Director-General or Coordinator (or delegates).

The Forum secretariat can be contacted at NFVPLSforum@qifvls.com.au. Due to the need for additional funding, there are significant gaps in the delivery of services that can be provided by Family Violence Prevention Legal Services (VPS), which limits access to justice for victims and survivors of First Nations family violence. Members of the SPLF National Forum provide legal advice and cases in a holistic model where clients and their children are supported through counselling, court support, child protection counselling and intervention, referrals to service systems, case management and advocacy. and family contacts. In this context, FVPLS provides clients and their children with specialist legal services and support regarding: The National Forum for Domestic Violence Prevention Legal Services (FVPLS) was established in May 2012 and is the national governing body for community-controlled member organisations across Australia providing holistic and culturally safe legal and other services to First Nations. who are victims or at risk of family violence – primarily First Nations women and their children. However, the scale of the problem is much greater, as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are less likely than other women to report domestic violence or seek help based on judgment, discrimination, shame or fear. The safety and support of Indigenous women is the foundation for the health and well-being of Indigenous children, so addressing domestic violence is a critical priority in eliminating deprivation and discrimination against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia. “I credit the hotline for saving my life from an abuser and giving me the facts I needed in an emergency to equip me to get out.

For more information about the forum and the work of FVPLS, see What We Do. The National Forum recognizes and respects the traditional custodians on whose lands we are fortunate to live and work, and we honour all Elders, past and present. Follow the link to access members-only content. The National Forum was formally established in May 2012 and consists of member organisations across Australia that are service providers under the Domestic Violence Prevention Legal Services Program. The Chair of the National Forum is Wynetta Dewis (CEO, QIFVPLS, Qld) and the Vice-Chair is Phynea Clarke (CEO, CAAFLU, NT).