Last updated 8 June 2016
In 2000, Legal Aid Queensland developed its first edition of some Best Practice Guidelines to help lawyers and professionals involved in the family law system to provide a consistent, high-quality service to clients affected by domestic violence. It also developed a best practice framework that outlined the organisation’s response to violence against women and explained how practitioners should use the Best Practice Guidelines.
The professional groups for whom these documents have been developed are:
- lawyers working with clients affected by domestic violence
- lawyers working with clients who have experienced sexual assault
- lawyers working with respondents in domestic violence proceedings
- family and social assessment report writers
- family dispute resolution practitioners
- separate representatives and independent children’s lawyers
- administrative and client service staff.
The following seven principles form the basis of each of the Best Practice Guidelines and are the foundation for a holistic service delivery approach to working with clients who have been affected by domestic violence.
The seven best practice principles are:
- improve your understanding
- prioritise safety
- facilitate empowerment
- foster respect
- acknowledge violence is a crime
- respect diversity
- respond collaboratively.
The Best Practice Guidelines include practical assistance for legal service in this area. Above all, they provide ways for professionals to prioritise the safety of their clients and themselves.