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Published date: Friday, 23 August 2019

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A new legal outreach service aimed at boosting support for domestic violence victim-survivors across multicultural communities in Sydney’s south-west has officially opened its doors.

Attorney General Mark Speakman today attended the launch of Bonnie’s Legal Outreach Service, which was recently awarded more than $680,000 in NSW Government funding to be delivered over the next three years.

“Bonnie’s refuge already has decades of experience supporting vulnerable members of the community and this additional service will go a long way in dismantling the many complex barriers women experiencing domestic violence face,” Mr Speakman said.

“These challenges are often compounded for women and children from multicultural and faith communities who are confronted with issues like residency status, language barriers, lack of access to information or cultural shame that stops them from coming forward.

“Fortunately, Bonnie’s has an impressive record of helping thousands of women from more than 60 countries – expertise that I’m confident will help address this critical service need across south-west Sydney.”

Bonnie’s Legal Outreach Service will be operated in partnership with Women’s Legal Service (WLS) staff. WLS Executive Officer Helen Campbell thanked the NSW Government for investing in Bonnie’s.

“This funding will increase the number of women and children we can empower so they may assert their legal rights and live a life free from violence,” Ms Campbell said.

In 2017, the NSW Government announced an independent review of funding for Community Legal Centres that resulted in 12 recommendations – the majority of which were adopted.

This included a recommendation for a three-year funding model – providing more certainty to the sector and allowing the NSW Government to address the areas of greatest legal need.

More than $6.5 million was committed by the NSW Government to support specialised projects to address critical service gaps for vulnerable and disadvantaged members of the community – including an investment in Bonnie’s Legal Outreach Service.

More than $40 million in total has been invested in the NSW community legal sector over the next three years.