June 10,2015

Colin Biggers & Paisley and Gadens in Melbourne have partnered with Women’s Legal Service Victoria (WLSV) to help formulate the legal policies needed to tackle violence against women and children across Victoria. Under the pro bono partnership, the two law firms will be contributing to the expansion of WLSV’s policy program through the employment of a policy lawyer for three days a week.

"The lawyer will undertake policy and campaign activities, particularly in family violence law and family law," Joanna Fletcher, Chief Executive Officer of WLSV, said. "A key part of the role will be to influence the findings of the Royal Commission into Family Violence."

In Australia, one woman is killed almost every week by a current or former partner. One in three has experienced physical and/or sexual violence by someone they know, and one in four children is exposed to domestic violence.

Dunstan de Souza, Managing Partner at Colin Biggers & Paisley said: "The statistics on family violence are alarming and sadly many support services for women and children are underfunded. We are delighted to work together with Gadens to help WLSV in carrying out the vital work they do."

Daniel Creasey, Colin Biggers & Paisley's Partner, Head of Pro Bono and Responsible Business said: "Our firm's community offering, the Colin Biggers & Paisley Foundation, has as its exclusive focus the promotion and protection of women's and children's rights in Australia and abroad. It is in that context that we are proud to support, endorse and promote WLSV's important work of in the area of family violence".

"This policy lawyer role will greatly enhance WLSV's capacity to respond to the Royal Commission on Family Violence and help WLSV to continue to advocate for much needed reform and change," Mr Creasey explained.
"WLSV is funded by Commonwealth and state government grants, however we currently face an uncertain funding climate," Ms Fletcher said. "Pro bono support provides a much needed resource for WLSV to continue and extend its policy work at this critical time, and our sincere thanks go to Gadens and Colin Biggers & Paisley for their valuable contribution to support our efforts."