MLC Annual Report - NCOSS

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Chairpersons Report                                    2

MLC Board 2009/2010                                    3

Coordinator’s Report                                   6

MLC Staff 2009/2010                                   11

Daytime Volunteers                                    12

Volunteer Voices                                      13

Evening Advice Volunteers                             15

General Legal Service                                 16

Children’s Legal Service                              26

Inner West Tenancy Advice and Advocacy Service        32

Inner West Domestic Violence Pro-Active Support
Service                                               38

Financial Report 2009/2010                            44

Media Contact                                         60

           Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010   1
    Chairperson’s                          In contrast to 2008-2009, in 2009-2010 MLC enjoyed staff stability. This
                                           allowed the Coordinator and Principal Solicitor to finalise arrangements under

    Report                                 an updated staff supervision policy to plot a course, guiding staff towards higher
                                           job satisfaction, career development, professional training and better teamwork.

                                           At Board level we farewelled John Gooley, Michelle Williams and Rob Lake.
                                           Sincere thanks for all the hard work the three of them put into MLC’s governance.
                                           We have Duncan Stewart and Kieran Egan as new directors.

                                           Under the guidance of an external consultant the Board undertook governance
                                           training. This helped us to make a (hopefully) useful contribution to the
                                           immensely valuable work the staff put in MLC’s strategic planning. Under the
                                           generous guidance of Darren Fittler and Rachel Launders of Gilbert & Tobin
                                           the Board is finalising updates to MLC’s antiquated Constitution. We hope to
                                           present a draft Constitution to MLC’s members for consideration in the coming
                                           months. We also started a process of updating MLC’s policies and hope to
                                           continue this process well into next year.

                                           MLC developed a new partnership with the Sutherland Family Relationship
                                           Centre and we were able to employ one new staff member to deliver the DVPASS
                                           service, a service which works with police and aims to provide information and
                                           referral to victims of domestic violence.

                                           Like many other community services, the greatest challenge this year was to
                                           balance the budget. The funding methodologies adopted by the government
                                           agencies that fund MLC’s programmes bring about less and less capacity to
                                           provide essentials outside staff salaries. This has caused financial stress, with
                                           staff having to juggle money around to ensure maximum savings in each area
                                           of expenditure. Fortunately, additional funding from the Commonwealth has
                                           provided some breathing space. But we anticipate hard times will endure unless
                                           community centres like MLC continue to receive adequate funding.

                                           MLC maintains its support for improved pay and conditions for women. With
                                           Board approval MLC staff closed the centre to attend the day of action in this

                                           I take this opportunity to thank volunteers, staff and Board of Marrickville Legal
                                           Centre for their dedication and commitment to the Centre and look forward to
                                           another busy year.

                                                                                                               Nick Yetzotis

                                           S Maria Elena Ang, Linda Wall and Jane Cipants.

2   Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010
                                                                           MLC Board

S Janet Loughman             S Nick Yetzotis
Secretary                    Chairperson
Appointed: 19 October 2009   Appointed: 19 October 2009

S Kieran Egan                S Michelle Williams
Appointed: 19 October 2010   Appointed: 19 October 2009
                             Resigned 17 May 2010

S Duncan Stewart             S Dianne Anagnos
Appointed : 17 May 2010      Appointed: 19 October 2009

                                                Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010   3
    Legal Centre

                                                   S The MLC Staff Christmas Party

                                           S Margaret Martin speaking at the Domestic Violence Forum

                                           S The presentation to John Gooley, Chairperson, at the 2009 AGM

4   Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010
                                  S MLC flags at the ASU Equal Pay rally

S The MLC Staff Development Day

                                                      S Gemma Lardner, Tommy Kam, Katrina
                                                      Wong and Stephen Johnson

                                                      W Martin Barker
S Alex Azarov, Tenant Advocate

                                                      T The Strategic Planning

S Helen Campbell, CLC NSW

                                       Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010   5
    Coordinators’                          I am pleased to report that 2009/2010
                                           has been a year of expansion and well-
                                                                                     organisations and Principal Solicitor,
                                                                                     Nassim Arrage, expertly collated all
    Report                                 deserved recognition for the Centre’s
                                           provision of professional services
                                                                                     the data into a detailed report. This
                                                                                     report formed the foundation of two
                                           to the community. To supplement
                                                                                     planning workshops, attended by
                                           our General Legal, Children’s and
                                                                                     all Board and staff; we thank Senior
                                           Tenancy services, MLC took on two
                                                                                     Research Associate Jane Cipants for
                                           pilot services – a Family Relationship
                                                                                     her professionalism and enthusiasm
                                           Centre (FRC) partnership and the
                                                                                     in facilitating this process.
                                           Inner West Domestic Violence Pro
                                           Active Support Service (IWDVPASS).
                                           Both of these services complement
                                           our existing services so we are pleased   MLC is a Company Limited by
                                           that funding for both projects will       Guarantee, governed by a Board made
                                           continue from July 2010. Funding was      up of community members offering
                                           also received to extend our work on       their expertise and experience, to
                                           youth homelessness, a confirmation        govern the Centre. The Directors

                                           S John Gooley and Anna Hartree (Kingsford Legal Centre) at the 2009
                                           Annual General Meeting

                                           of the worthwhile achievements of         are elected annually at the Annual
                                           our Children’s Legal Service.             General Meeting and in 2009/2010
                                                                                     the MLC Directors were:
                                           The additional funding is timely,
                                           as MLC has embarked on a                  – Nick Yetzotis – Chairman
                                           comprehensive process of reviewing        – Janet Loughman – Secretary
                                           future service provision as part of       – Dianne Anagnos – Director
                                           developing a Strategic Plan. This         – Kieran Egan – Director
                                           process was made possible through         – Michelle Williams (resigned May
                                           our partnership with CLCNSW (CLC          2010) – Director
                                           peak body) and consultancy firm           – Duncan Stewart (co-opted May
                                           Judith Stubbs & Associates (JSA). MLC     2010) – Director
                                           successfully applied for a grant to
                                                                                     We thank Michelle Williams for her
                                           participate in the rollout of the Legal
                                                                                     valuable input during her time on the
                                           Needs and Strategic Planning Toolkit,
                                                                                     Board and thank Duncan for willingly
                                           a kit designed by JSA to assist CLCs
                                                                                     stepping into the vacancy.
                                           plan for the future. MLC staff gathered
                                           statistics and conducted stakeholder      As the Board ’s responsibilities cover
                                           interviews with local community           many areas, the Board annually

6   Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010
attends a governance training
session on legal accountability, risk
management and other employer
functions. We thank Michelle Jones
for presenting an informative and
engaging session. The training inspired
the Board to again consider updating
the Constitution and we thank Darren
Fittler and Rachel Launders at Gilbert
& Tobin, for their ongoing assistance
during this process.

After flooding damaged our premises
in August 2008, MP’s Carmel Tebbutt
and David Borger responded to
our request for assistance to obtain
reimbursement of costs MLC had
incurred. Voila! The insurance
company acted and MLC’s financial
situation was rescued and a difficult
chapter in MLC’s history was closed.      S Harmony Day
                                          for one-off funding for a credit and     The Tenancy team had several
The Australian Services Union (ASU)
                                          debt service, an area of great need.     outstanding successes at the CTTT and
is instrumental in fighting for equal
                                          The FRC funding also strengthens our     welcomed the opportunity to write a
pay for workers in the community
                                          general legal service. Our Children’s    detailed submission to the review of
services sector. During the year, the
                                          Legal Service provided Outreach at       the Residential Tenancies Act. The
ASU organised two protest rallies and
                                          HomeBass in Bankstown and our            Tenant’s Union Hotline no longer
the MLC Board supported Centre staff
                                          Children’s Solicitor, Katrina Wong and   operates from MLC but several of our
who demonstrated in support of the
                                          paralagal Gemma Lardner worked           volunteers have continued working
ASU Equal Work Equal Pay campaign.
                                          hard to produce the “Bail Me Out”        with the condensed TU Hotline
The campaign aims to highlight unfair
                                          report. We congratulate Katrina          service.
pay conditions for women in the
                                          Wong for being a finalist at the         Amelia Pace, the Inner West Domestic
community sector.
                                          National Children’s and Youth Law        Violence Pro-Active Support Service
MLC’s services are busier than ever;      Centre’s Award and for receiving an      (IWDVPASS) Coordinator, has ably
the separate service reports will         honourable mention for her excellent     managed this project and developed
expand on their achievements. We          work with the Children’s Legal           strong networks amongst a wide
are grateful to Redfern Legal Centre      Service.                                 range of community services.

                                                                                   S Attorney General Robert
S Katrina Wong at the ASU Rally                                                    McClelland and Maria Elena Ang

                                                                    Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010   7
Staffing                                   attendance at the front-desk reception    Council’s development of a Cultural
                                           so all staff are exposed to the broader   Diversity Action Plan, which will
Staffing remained steady throughout        range of Centre activities                focus on people from culturally and
the year. Our highly qualified staff are                                             linguistically diverse backgrounds.
valued and often sought after by other     Community development                     The Council’s soccer event on World
agencies; Elizabeth de Freitas, Tenant                                               Refugee Day engaged many local
                                           MLC has a strong culture of reaching
Advocate, took on a temporary                                                        youth as well as MLC staff Alex Azarov
                                           out to communities and this is
position of Legal Support Officer at                                                 and Martin Barker, and friends.
                                           demonstrated by our attendance at
Tenant’s Union NSW and Katrina                                                       Thanks go to Marrickville Council
                                           various community events including
Wong, Children’s Solicitor, is working                                               for a $4,000 Community Grant to
                                           Marrickville Road Fair, St. George
short-term with Legal Aid.                                                           develop the Centre’s promotional
                                           Migrant Resource Centre Open Day,
Several staff attended the State           Anti-Poverty Week, Ashfield Carnival      brochure and we especially thank
Conference “Achieving Social Justice”      of Cultures, Mardi Gras Fair Day,         Wendy Neill, graphic designer, for
and the National CLC Conference            International Women’s Day to name         creating our new-look brochure.
“Inclusive Justice - CLCs in Action”.      only a few. We contributed to National    We partnered with the Leichhardt
The conferences offered staff a wealth     Law Week activities by presenting         Marrickville    Domestic     Violence
of training, networking opportunities      a CLE to senior students of Sydney        Committee to launch the IWDVPASS
and up-to-date resources.                  Secondary College, Blackwattle Bay.       as part of a one-day Domestic
MLC initiated a roster of staff            MLC    contributed    to   Marrickville   Violence Forum held at Marrickville
                                                                                     Town Hall. The event was launched
                                                                                     by Superintendent Gavin Dengate,
                                                                                     Commander         Sutherland    Local
                                                                                     Area Command and was well-
                                                                                     attended by 100 people and over 30
                                                                                     community organizations. A panel of
                                                                                     representatives from 10 organisations
                                                                                     provided information and answered
                                                                                     questions, from the audience. This
                                                                                     event was an excellent promotion
                                                                                     for the new service and was a good
                                                                                     way to introduce our IWDVPASS
                                                                                     Coordinator, Amelia Pace.

S Louise Coory, Frederica Mantel, and Nassim Arrage at
the Legal Aid 3oth Anniversary

S Sydney Secondary College Community Legal Education                  S St George Migrant Resource Centre Open Day

8   Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010
                                                                                 at Women’s Legal Services. These 3
                                                                                 CLCs met regularly and also shared
                                                                                 information stalls at the Aboriginal
                                                                                 Yaben Festival and Wirringa Baiya
                                                                                 Women’s Corroboree. We also
                                                                                 collaborated to present training
                                                                                 sessions for volunteer solicitors and
                                                                                 topics covered topics including traffic
                                                                                 law, employment law, family law and
                                                                                 freedom of information. Many thanks
                                                                                 to HWL Ebsworth for providing their
                                                                                 city premises to hold the training.

                                                                                 We upgraded much of our computer
                                                                                 equipment this year and thank Glenn
                                                                                 Kennedy for his work in the IT area.

                                                                                 I would also like to thank our
                                                                                 knowledgeable Information and
S The Legal Aid Commission Dennis Roach Farewell                                 Referral Officer, Maria Elena Ang
                                                                                 and our industrious Financial
Volunteers                              front-desk volunteers, training which    Administrator, Linda Wall for ensuring
                                        has proved a beneficial introduction     the Centre works so efficiently and
MLC relies on the contribution          to the intricacies of working at MLC.
of dedicated volunteers – Board                                                  smoothly. Thanks also to Sandra
                                        To show MLC’s appreciation of our        Grolmus our Auditor.
Directors, law students on the front    volunteers, a post-Xmas party was
desk, para-legals, PLT students and     held at the Warren View Hotel. Over      The next financial year will be very
Evening Advice volunteer solicitors.    60 volunteers attended and a good        exciting for MLC. We thank our
By giving their time and energy to      night was had by all.                    funding bodies Legal Aid, Attorney
MLC, volunteers have a positive                                                  General’s Department, NSW Fair
impact on the whole Centre, and         Networking                               Trading and the Office for Women’s
often make improvements to                                                       Policy for the good partnerships MLC
administrative systems and our          MLC works closely with the three
                                                                                 has developed with each agency.
physical surroundings such as tidying   inner-metro     Community       Legal
                                                                                 We thank Legal Aid’s previous
library resources. In particular, we    Centres – working with Helen
                                                                                 Community Legal Centre Program
thank Martin Barker for undertaking     Campbell (ex-Redfern Legal Centre),
                                                                                 Manager Dennis Roach and welcome
a major overhaul of the front-desk      Anna Hartree (Kingsford Legal Centre)
                                                                                 Bronwyn Mc Cutcheon. We also
handbook to ensure this essential       and Dan Stubbs (Inner City Legal
                                                                                 congratulate Legal Aid on 30 years of
publication was accurate.               Centre) is a real pleasure. We look
                                                                                 providing legal advice.
                                        forward to working with Jo Shulman,
We instigated a series of all-day       Redfern Legal Centre’s new Executive     Marrickville Legal Centre holds a
training sessions for new and current   Officer, and wish Helen all the best     special place in the community, a
                                                                                 place earned by providing a high
                                                                                 standard of free advice. I would like
                                                                                 to thank my colleagues, and Board,
                                                                                 for their support and thank CORRS,
                                                                                 the secondees CORRS provides
                                                                                 to MLC, the pro bono law firms,
                                                                                 the community services and the
                                                                                 government and non-government
                                                                                 agencies that make what we do

                                                                                       Frederica Mantel, Coordinator

                                                                                            Marrickville Legal Centre
                                                                                           acknowledges the Cadigal
                                                                                               Wangal people of the
                                                                                             Eora Nation, traditional
     S Linda Wall and Maria Elena Ang                                                         custodians of the land.

                                                                 Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010   9
 Legal Centre
 Area Profile 

                                           Marrickville Legal Centre’s catchment    the highest rates of interpreter use,
                                           area covers the following Council        amongst generalist community legal
                                           areas: Ashfield, Burwood, Canada Bay,    centres, in NSW.
                                           Marrickville, Strathfield, Bankstown,
                                           Sutherland Shire, Kogarah, Auburn,       Staff and volunteers are trained in
                                           Hurstville, Rockdale and Canterbury.     the use of the Telephone Interpreting
                                           These local government areas have a      Service, a service that is used on a
                                           combined catchment of population         daily basis, either with clients on
                                           of over one million people. Some of      the phone or using a speaker-phone
                                           these areas are the most disadvantaged   when clients visit the Centre.
                                           regions in Sydney, where people
                                           experience high unemployment and         In 2009-2010 MLC booked face-to-
                                           low income.                              face interpreters on 120 occasions.
                                                                                    Chinese-Mandarin,         Vietnamese,
                                           MLC’s catchment area is also rich        Chinese-Cantonese and Greek were
                                           in cultural diversity. MLC is strongly   the highest usage followed Bangali and
                                           committed to services being equitable    Arabic; a reflection of multicultural
                                           and accessible which is clearly          Sydney with over 130 languages
                                           demonstrated by MLC having one of        spoken in the Ashfield area alone.

10   Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010
Legal Team                                Tenancy Team
Permanent and
Fixed Term Staff
                                          Permanent and
                                          Fixed Term Staff
                                                                                            Legal Centre
Nassim Arrage
Principal Solicitor
                                          Eloise Parrab
                                          Tenant Advocate (p/t)
Peter Longfield
Generalist Solicitor (p/t)
                                          Elizabeth de Freitas
                                          Tenant Advocate (p/t)
                                                                                             2009 – 2010
Margaret Martin                           Julia Murray
Generalist Solicitor (p/t)                Tenant Advocate (p/t)
Lisa Woodgate                             Alex Azarov
Generalist Solicitor                      Tenant Advocate (p/t)
                                          Rafael Mazzoldi
Casual Staff                              Tenant Advocate (p/t)
Brae Sinclair                             Sophie Farrell
Evening Advice Supervisor                 Tenant Advocate (p/t)
Pat McDonough
Generalist Solicitor                      Casual
Fleur Ramsay                              Jamie Martin
Generalist Solicitor                      Tenant Advocate
Anne Pridham
Generalist Solicitor                      Inner West DVPASS
Martin Barker
Paralegal                                 Permanent and
                                          Fixed Term Staff
Children’s Legal Service                  Amelia Pace
Permanent and
Fixed Term Staff                          Administration
Katrina Wong
Children’s Solicitor                      Permanent and
Gemma Lardner                             Fixed Term Staff
Paralegal                                 Frederica Mantel
Mark Patrick                              Centre Coordinator
Locum Children’s Solicitor                Maria Elena Ang
                                          Information & Referral Officer
                                          Linda Wall
                                          Financial Administrator (p/t)

                        S MLC staff at the International Day function

                                                                   Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010   11
 Volunteers                                Dawoud Ayache                          Anna Mc Ewen

                                           Martin Barker                          Warren Oakes
 2009 / 2010                               Emanuel Blum                           Lara Piercy

                                           Jesse Buckingham                       Hiranya Perera

                                           Alexia Bull                            Soiam Raja

                                           Kevin Chau                             Sean Rudder

                                           Iris Chen                              Jacqueline Serkowski

                                           Roumanna Choudhury                     Michael Shiraev

                                           Tara Dinslage                          Sue Soueid

                                           Nikhil Farias                          Annika Tarbox

                                           Heather Huddleston                     Linton Teoh

                                           Daljit Kaur                            Angela Vo

                                           Daniel Lee                             James Vrachas

                                           Jean Liu                               Sarah Wang

                                           Sonia Lor                              Alice Xiao

                                           Andrew Luboski                         Han Yong

                                               S The Marrickville Legal Centre volunteers post-christmas party

12   Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010
Alexia Bull
Marrickville Legal Centre is run out
of such a small office, yet it delivers                                                              Voices
such a significant service to a large
section of the Sydney community. I
have been a front-desk volunteer at
the Centre for a number of months
now and have come to appreciate the
important work it does.

                                          Emanuel Blum
                                          I enjoy volunteering at the
                                          Marrickville Legal Centre because it
                                          exposes me to aspects of the law I
                                          would be unlikely to face within the
                                          confines of the academic enclave.
                                          At university I do gain intellectual
                                          stimulation of learning the law.
At the Centre’s heart is its desire to    However, the experience is not
assist those within its means, ensuring   entirely fulfilling. Volunteering
equal access to justice. This is an       at the MLC exposes me to legal
oft-stated principle and one that the     problems commonly faced in my
Centre tirelessly works to live out       community. I also enjoy the feeling
on a daily basis. An afternoon at         that I am making a contribution to
the front desk is often challenging.      the community in which I live. I get
Some calls are warm and others            the chance to meet people from a
are expressions of sheer angst and        diverse range of socio-economic
frustration. However from the initial     and cultural backgrounds, and
telephone contact right up until a        develop my communication skills
solution is proposed by solicitors, the   by discussing their problems with
Centre always shows the utmost care       them. Undoubtedly, my experience
and concern towards the people that       at the MLC has enriched my
it serves. I feel proud to be involved    legal education. Volunteering is
with a place that provides such an        something I would recommend to
essential service.                        any law student.

    Jacqueline Serkowski
    Coming to the end of my studies in law I had become increasingly
    disenchanted with the legal system and was starting to believe
    that perhaps law was not the right path. With this thought in
    my mind I started my journey at Marrickville Legal Centre in the
    hope of regaining my belief and interest in the law. Over the
    several months that I have spent at MLC interacting with clients,
    fellow volunteers, the solicitors, and others such as the invaluable
    Information and Referral Officer Maria, I have not only gained a
    renewed interest for the law but more importantly I have gained
    a greater appreciation of the law and the integral role that legal
    centres such as Marrickville play in assisting everyday people in
    the local community to gain access to the law and legal system.
    Volunteering at Marrickville Legal Centre is an opportunity not
    to be missed and is highly recommended for those looking for a
    uniquely rewarding and dynamic experience.

                                                                 Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010   13
                                                             Heather Huddlestone
                                                             I am currently in my fourth year of my Arts / Law degree
                                                             and I have had a blast learning about archaic courtroom
                                                             traditions, old Latin maxims and the significant role of the
                                                             common law in shaping civilised life. However, up until I
                                                             started volunteering at the Marrickville Legal Centre, I was
                                                             unable to connect my textbook understanding of the law
                                                             with practical processes of justice. My time at Marrickville
                                                             Legal Centre has been exciting, challenging, eye opening
                                                             and, at times, disheartening. The conversations I have with
                                                             callers demonstrate how the legal system can, on the one
                                                             hand, perform great feats of equity and justice and, on
                                                             the other hand, allow disadvantaged people fall through
                                                             the cracks. All law students should take the opportunity
                                                             to volunteer at community legal centres to broaden their
                                                             understanding of the practical operation and effects of the

                                Jean Liu
                                I have been volunteering at the front desk at Marrickville Legal Centre since end of
                                2009. I feel really fortunate to get this rewarding experience whilst doing my law
                                degree. Not only was I able to encounter a great variety of legal issues but I have also
                                had the opportunity to speak to the rest of the community who are often dealing with
                                very real and stressful legal problems. MLC is definitely a real people, real solutions
                                type of place. Further, it is an organization full of friendly and approachable people
                                which makes the whole experience that much more awesome. I would strongly
                                recommend all law students to participate as a volunteer.

                                                              James Vrachas
                                                              Volunteering at Marrickville Legal Centre is a highly
                                                              challenging yet rewarding experience. Working at the front
                                                              desk can often be very stressful, due to the difficulties in
                                                              deciphering the core legal issue within a person’s often
                                                              complex story. It is at these times of stress that I have been so
                                                              thankful for the ever-present support from other volunteers
                                                              and the caring, committed staff at the centre. Though at
                                                              times you may feel overwhelmed, you will never feel alone
                                                              in this place. There is always help on the other side of the
                                                              ‘Hold’ button on the telephone, and encouraging words
                                                              are never far away. Working at the Centre has been so
                                                              valuable to me as it has humanized the law for me, in a far
                                                              removed way from textbooks.

14   Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010
Employment Solicitors
Samantha Abeydeera
                        Evan Hamman
                        Rescina Hekimian
Adrian Barwick          Siobhab Hobbs                                           Advice
Lien Choi               Phillipa Hofbrucker
Bill Clarke             Mathew Jessup                                       Volunteers
Jamie Darams            Clare Jobson
Jessica Dolan           Alex Johns                                         2009 / 2010
Charis Estoesta         Naomi Jones
Louisa Fitz-Gerald      Asheesh Kalmath
Sean Jolly              Roneel Kam
Heidi Fairhall          Roneel Kamiya
Kaitlin Foxhall         Chris Kane
Michael Green           Antonis Karavias
Victoria Kakoschke      Nicholas Kelly                        Legal Assistants
Chris Kane              Catherine Kelso                       Karlie Andric
Joe Kennedy             Nathan Kennedy                        Fatma Bazzi
Rob Hamper              Andrew Kinton                         Angelo Bistaridis
Emma Maiden             Georgia Koutts                        Lucy Boyle
Sean Morgan             Michael Kovac                         Stephanie Button
Nick Yetzotis           Jo Kwan                               Rachel Callinan
Irfan Yusef             Maria Lambi                           Kevin Chau
                        Emma Liddle                           Louise Coory
Family Solicitors                                             Tara Croft
                        Chloe Mason
Maryanne Atalla                                               Evana Diep
                        Amit Pall
Michael Duong                                                 Marie Delaney
                        Kate McCrossin
Rescina Hekimian                                              Jenna Dunwoodie
                        Mary Morrisroe
Veronica Lavulo                                               Danielle Fasi
                        Phillip Ng
Margaret McCabe                                               Sarves Gopalakrishnan
                        Clara Nguyen
Wayne Morrison
                        Thomas Pampis                         Mathew Jessop
                        Mark Patrick                          Rebecca Jones
General Solicitors
                        Anne Pridham                          Roneel Kamiya
Andrew Adams
                        Aditi Rao                             Calvin Lau
Paul Ahearn
                        Jacqueline Rennie                     Christine Lloyd
Hugo Aston
                        Kimberly Rose                         Julie Lu
Galina Barrett
                        Wasim Saheli                          Deb Mclelland
Amy Brady
                        Giovi Sarkisian                       Caitlyn McLoughlin
Louise Buchanan
                        Brinie Scheen                         Hana Marjanac
Sandra Berghofer
                        Emma Scott                            Ben May
Clare Cahill
                        Brae Sinclair                         Ruth Mugo
Anne Callaghan
Catherine Owens         Cedric Spencer                        Mohammed Nawaz
Karen Chapman           Parama Srikanth                       Dominic Nguyen
Yvonne Chong            Andrew Stewart                        Scott Nicholson
Louise Coory            Suzie Tay                             Wilfred Nino
Joe Daniel              Rachel Teo                            Arthur Paras
Elinor Eagan            Noel Tin                              Ryan Pinto
Robert Eaves            Nelson Trieu                          Allison Rickett
Stephen Evans           Suraya Turk                           Sarah Sherborne-Higgins
Daniel Flemming         Jonathan Tyne                         Alison Smith
Erin Gough              Sy Ho Linh                            Annika Tarbox
Sarah Griffiths         Anurag Verma                          Sarah Whitfield
Leonie Hale             Joe Weller                            Alisa Wicks

                                              Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010   15
 General                                   Marrickville Legal Centre was founded
                                           in 1979 and has provided a General

 Legal                                     Legal Service (GLS) in the local
                                           government area of Marrickville for
 Service                                   over 30 years. The GLS has expanded
                                           its services since it was first established
                                           and now provides legal services to
                                           the residents of 12 local government
                                           areas. These areas cover the inner
                                           west, south and south west of Sydney
                                           and have a combined population of
                                           over one million people.

                                           The GLS provides free legal advice,
                                           undertakes      casework,    provides
                                           community legal education, and
                                           participates in law reform and policy

16   Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010
Our Clients
The number of GLS clients in 2009/10
was 1266 people. This represents
an increase of more than 20% as
compared to the 2008/09 financial
year. This means that we provided
assistance to over 200 more people
than the previous financial year.

These clients are a diverse range of
people who often have difficulty
accessing mainstream legal services.
They include Aboriginal and Torres
Islander people, people from many
different cultural and linguistic
backgrounds, people living with
mental illness, people with disabilities,
and/ or people who experience socio-
economic disadvantage.

In summary the GLS provided the
following services in 2009/10:
•   Continued to provide advice
    through our evening advice
    programs    and  day   time
•   Continued to provide our legal
    outreach service at St George
    Migrant Resource Centre
•   Piloted a legal outreach service at     •   Margie Martin                            letters for clients to use.
    Newtown Neighbourhood Centre                Generalist Solicitor (Part-time)
                                                                                         The advice sessions aim to provide
•   Used additional funding to              •   Pat McDonough                            information, advice and basic
    specifically focus on credit and            Generalist Solicitor (Locum)             assistance on a range of matters,
    debt issues for culturally and          •   Fleur Ramsay                             including:
    linguistically diverse clients              Generalist Solicitor (Locum)
                                                                                         Minor criminal matters
•   Established a partnership with          •   Martin Barker                            •   Employment law
    Sutherland Family Relationship              Paralegal
                                                                                         •   Discrimination
    Centre to provide legal advice and
    assistance to people undertaking        The Evening Advice Service                   •   Family law
    family dispute resolution.                                                           •   Victims compensation
                                            The GLS continues to provide evening
•   Continued to deliver community          advice on Tuesday and Thursday               •   Credit and debt matters
    legal education to community            evenings. The advice sessions are            •   Consumer complaints
    workers and client groups.              staffed by volunteer solicitors,             •   Motor vehicle property damage
•   Continued to undertake casework         barristers and front desk assistants and
                                                                                         •   Complaints about professionals
    arising out of our advice services      are supervised by solicitors from the
                                                                                             and government organisations
Our Staff                                                                                Gilbert + Tobin continue to assist the
                                            The evening advice sessions provide
                                                                                         evening advice service by generously
This year the GLS has been staffed by:      advice and information to clients in
                                                                                         providing two solicitors every Tuesday.
                                            order to assist them to progress and
•   Nassim Arrage                                                                        We thank them for their continued
                                            solve their legal issue/s. This assistance
    Principal Solicitor                                                                  support.
                                            includes explaining the legal process,
•   Lisa Woodgate                           helping clients to identify what stage
    Generalist Solicitor (Full-time)                                                     Evening advice volunteers
                                            their legal matter is at, explaining the
•   Peter Longfield                         meaning of a legal documents, as             Our volunteer solicitors, barristers
    Generalist Solicitor (Part-time)        well as drafting court documents and         and front desk assistants provide

                                                                       Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010    17
an invaluable service, giving their        Monday afternoons on a fortnightly
time to assist clients who attend our      basis. Three appointments are made      agreed to provide one solicitor a
evening advice sessions. Without           for each session. Advice is also        fortnight to staff the drop-in service.
the commitment and dedication of           provided on a drop-in basis where       We thank Meghan Carruthers,
evening advice volunteers the Centre       time permits.                           National Pro Bono Coordinator
would not have been able to meet the                                               of HWL Ebsworth Lawyers for
continuing and increasing demand for                                               assisting the GLS in establishing our
our services.                                                                      participation in the drop-in service
                                                                                   at Newtown Neighbourhood Centre.
We would like to express our deepest                                               We also thank the HWL Ebsworth
appreciation to our wonderful team                                                 Lawyers who have given advice at
of volunteers.                                                                     Newtown Neighbourhood Centre –
                                                                                   Simone Nokes, Jason Stevens, Kristen
A full list of volunteers who have
                                                                                   Wall and Courtney Fleming.
provided their time on the evening
advice roster during 2009/2010 can
be seen on page 15 of this report.
                                                                                   Credit and Debt Assistance
A special mention should go to our
                                                                                   for Culturally and
long-term volunteers who continue
                                                                                   Linguistically Diverse Clients
to demonstrate such a high level of                                                In mid-2009 Redfern Legal Centre
commitment to the Centre.                                                          was funded by the NSW Office of Fair
                                                                                   Trading to target credit and debt legal
Daytime appointments                                                               services to people from Culturally
                                                                                   and Linguistically Diverse (CALD)
Daytime appointments are offered
                                                                                   backgrounds. Redfern Legal Centre
at the Centre on alternate Tuesday
                                                                                   provided community legal education
and Thursday mornings.          These
                                                                                   in the Marrickville Local Government
appointments are for women who
                                                                                   area and provided Marrickville Legal
experience domestic violence, sexual
                                                                                   Centre with a portion of the funding.
assault and clients with victim’s
                                                                                   This funding was to deal with the
compensation      claims.    Daytime
                                                                                   increased advice and case-work
appointments are also offered to
                                                                                   that would arise as a result of raising
clients who have difficulty attending
                                                                                   awareness of credit and debt issues in
the Centre for Evening Advice.
                                                                                   the CALD communities.

Legal Outreach Clinic at St                                                        The number of advices given in
George Migrant Resource                                                            relation to credit and debt almost
Centre                                                                             tripled in the 2009/10 financial year
                                                                                   compared to the 2008/09 financial
In 2009/10 the GLS outreach at St                                                  year.
George Migrant Resource (SGMRC)
in Rockdale entered its sixth year of                                              The number of cases opened in the
providing a service to the local ethnic
                                           Legal Outreach Clinic at                2009/10 financial year more than
communities of the St George area.
                                           Newtown Neighbourhood                   tripled compared to the 2008/09
                                           Centre                                  financial year.
Demand for the service remains as
strong as when it began in February        Starting in March 2010, the GLS         Unfortunately, Marrickville Legal
2005. The outreach advice service has      began an outreach at Newtown            Centre is unlikely to receive any
increased access to legal assistance       Neighbourhood Centre. Newtown           additional funding in the 2010/11
for residents of the St George area.       Neighbourhood Centre had arranged       financial year to meet the increased
In particular it has assisted those who    for officers from Centrelink, Housing   need for credit and debt legal services
experience disadvantage, those from        NSW and Marrickville Legal Centre’s     for CALD communities.
culturally and linguistically diverse      Inner West Tenants Service to attend
background, people with disabilities,      a one-stop shop drop-in service at      Family Relationship Centre
the aged and single mothers who            Newtown Neighbourhood Centre            Partnership
have difficulty traveling to the Centre    every Thursday afternoon. They also
                                                                                   In late 2009, Marrickville Legal Centre
in Marrickville to attend an Evening       invited the GLS to participate in the
                                                                                   received a small amount of funding
Advice session.                            one-stop shop drop-in service.
                                                                                   from the Commonwealth Attorney
This outreach service operates on          HWL Ebsworth Lawyers generously         General to provide legal advice and

18   Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010
assistance to the clients of Sutherland
Family Relationship Centre.         This
funding was only until the end of

In the short period since the
partnership began, the GLS has
provided legal services to over
40 clients of Sutherland Family
Relationship Centre.

The GLS has also provided
community legal education on family
law including parent’s and children’s
rights, the Family Relationship Centre
mediation and dispute resolution
process and parenting plans and
consent orders in the Family Court.
This community legal education is
given in tandem with Sutherland

Family Relationship Centre’s Building
Connections program which is a three
hour seminar that assists separated
parents to have strong, healthy
relationships their children.

Marrickville Legal Centre has recently
been notified that this partnership will
now be funded for an additional three
years, until the end of June 2013.

Advice Work
The GLS provided legal advice and
assistance on approximately 1702
occasions to over 1260 clients in
2009/10. This represents an increase
of over 26% when compared to the
2008/09 financial year.

The demand for credit and debt advice

                                           Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010   19
increased dramatically in 2009/10          problem warrant our involvement.           Legal Centres Group, the National
while the demand for employment                                                       Association of Community Legal
                                           The GLS continues to provide
law advice also continued to increase.                                                Centres and all our other networks.
                                           assistance and representation to clients
In addtion, we continue to see an          with various legal problems including
                                                                                      Community Legal Education
increase in the number of advices we       debt, victim’s compensation, unfair
give in relation to fines and road and     dismissal and discrimination.              Twice a year the Centre holds
traffic offences. In 2008/09 we gave                                                  a series of Law for Community
                                           At times, we are able to secure
108 advices in relation to fines and                                                  Workers workshops intended to
                                           representation for some clients
160 in relation to traffic offences.                                                  inform community workers on legal
                                           through the pro-bono programs of
                                                                                      processes, changes to the law and
In 2009/10 we gave 192 advices in          some of the larger private law firms.
                                                                                      legal issues faced by clients. In the last
relation to fines and 210 advices in       We are grateful for the continued
                                                                                      financial year, the GLS conducted the
relation to road and traffic offences.     assistance of Maurice Blackburn,
                                                                                      following workshops:
This represents an increase of 78% in      Clayton Utz, Blake Dawson, Holding
                                                                                      • Legal Problem Solving and
the number of advices relating to fines    Redlich, Turner Freeman and Gilbert
and increase of 31% in the number          + Tobin, particularly in the areas of
                                                                                      • Family Law, Parenting and
of advices relating to road and traffic    victims compensation, credit and debt,
offences.                                  employment and discrimination law.
                                                                                      • Police Powers
                                                                                      • Dealing with Debt
Casework                                   Policy and law reform
                                                                                      • Legal Services for Homeless
GLS casework is selected from all the      When providing legal services the GLS           People
clients we come into contact with          refers to the Strategic Service Delivery   • Fines
through our various advice services.       Model. It actively pursues policy and
                                                                                      During the year the GLS provides
The decision to provide on-going           law reform activities in conjunction
                                                                                      other community legal education
assistance to a client is made if the      with providing advice and casework
                                                                                      sessions to community groups and
GLS has the capacity to take on            assistance. We also engage in policy
                                                                                      workers, client groups and our
another matter and if the needs of         and law reform in collaboration
the client and the nature of the legal     with the Combined Community

                                                                                      Legal Support Volunteers
                                                                                      The GLS solicitors would not
                                                                                      be able to assist as many clients
                                                                                      without the support of volunteer
                                                                                      solicitors, students on practical legal
                                                                                      training placement and volunteer
                                                                                      paralegals. These volunteers provide
                                                                                      a wide range of support to the GLS
                                                                                      solicitors including legal research,
                                                                                      file administration, drafting letters
                                                                                      and documents and client liaison. In
                                                                                      2009/2010, these were:
                                                                                      Martin Barker: Volunteer Paralegal
                                                                                      Duncan Stewart: Volunteer Paralegal
                                                                                      Louise Coory: Volunteer Solicitor/
                                                                                      Practical Legal Training
                                                                                      Tanya Amarasingham: Volunteer
                                                                                      Jenna       Dunwoodie:      Volunteer
                                                                                      Pat McDonough: Volunteer Solicitor
                                                                                      Mark Patrick: Volunteer Solicitor
                                                                                      Beverly Belista: Practical Legal
                                                                                      Training Student
                                                                                      Tara Croft: Practical Legal Training
                                                                                      Katy Jenkins: Practical Legal Training

20   Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010
Paul Voigt: International Practical      Chambers
Legal Training Student
                                                                                  Case Study: Debt
                                         Joe Wasuruj: Consumer Credit Legal
                                         Centre                                   Our client is the mother of three
                                         John Gooley: Collins & Thompson          children. Her young son was
We would like to acknowledge and                                                  diagnosed with a severe spinal
                                         Josh Mennen: Maurice Blackburn
pay special tribute to the solicitors                                             disease which has meant that she
and barristers who have donated          Julie Ruse: Public Interest Advocacy
                                                                                  had to stop working to be his full
many hours of pro bono assistance        Centre
                                                                                  time carer. Our client’s marriage
to the Centre and its clients over the   Kat Lane: Consumer Credit Legal          ended in 2008. Her husband was
year. In particular we would like to     Centre                                   a gambler and he ran up substantial
thank:                                   Lauren Finestone: Legal Aid NSW          debts during the marriage. As a
Amelia Davis: Blake Dawson               Martin Hyde: Maurice Blackburn           consequence of this situation,
Andrew Taylor: Legal Aid NSW             (Melbourne)                              property and assets acquired
                                                                                  during the course of the 17-year
Anne Cregan: Blake Dawson                Meghan Carruthers: HWL Ebsworth
                                                                                  marriage were lost. Our client was
Belinda Wilson: Clayton Utz              Lawyers
                                                                                  being pursued for substantial debts
Ben Fogarty: Gilbert + Tobin             Melissa De Leon: Clayton Utz             and the family home was at risk
Ben Slade: Maurice Blackburn             Michelle Hannon: Gilbert + Tobin         of foreclosure. The husband had
                                         Roslyn Cook : Gilbert + Tobin            moved interstate and although he
Carmine Santone: Maurice Blackburn
                                                                                  was working it would appear that he
Danny Gilbert: Gilbert + Tobin           Simon Weeks: Maurice Blackburn
                                                                                  had avoided having debt recovery
David Hillard: Clayton Utz               Susan Emery: Legal Aid NSW               action taken against him. The
Elizabeth   Morley:   Redfern    Legal   Tamara Simms: Gilbert + Tobin            Centre assisted our client in dealing
Centre                                   Terry   Goldberg:   Turner   Freeman     with these complex debt matters:
Jamie Darams: 53 Martin Place            Solicitors
                                                                                  We provided assistance with
                                                                                  negotiations with several banks
                                                                                  in relation to various credit card
                                                                                  debts and prepared a complaint in
                                                                                  relation to the harassment by a debt
                                                                                  collection agency.

                                                                                  We assisted with negotiations with
                                                                                  the local council in relation to
                                                                                  outstanding debts for the rates for the
                                                                                  property occupied by the husband,
                                                                                  which had been sold earlier to avoid
                                                                                  mortgage repossession.

                                                                                  We prepared a complaint to the
                                                                                  Financial Services Ombudsman
                                                                                  on the grounds of hardship and
                                                                                  engaged in negotiations in order to
                                                                                  allow our client the optimal market
                                                                                  conditions in which to sell the family
                                                                                  home and avoid foreclosure.

                                                                                  This situation is unfortunately
                                                                                  far too common. Most recently,
                                                                                  marital debt situations of this type
                                                                                  are compounded by the global
                                                                                  economic crisis and the decline
                                                                                  in property prices. These factors
                                                                                  mean that people often do not
                                                                                  recover enough money from selling
                                                                                  their property assets to cover the
                                                                                  debts arising out of the mortgage.

                                                                 Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010   21
                      Case Study: Mistaken Identity                                  but due to the technicalities of the
                                                                                     court process this was not possible.
 Our client came to us after he had        another person with the same name
 received a penalty enforcement            as our client.                            The GLS then liaised with the client,
 order from the State Debt Recovery                                                  NSW Police and the Local Court
 Officee for a court imposed fine of       Our client had limited understanding      which resulted in NSW Police making
 almost $1000. He was 28-year old          of what occurred during the hearing       an application for the matter to be
 man from a south Asian country who        but he left believing that the Court      withdrawn under section 43(2) of the
 spoke little English.                     had dismissed the matter. However,        Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act as
                                           over 6 months later he received the       the evidence indicated our client was
 He had previously received a              penalty enforcement order.                not the person who was charged with
 summons to attend the Local Court
                                                                                     the offence.
 as a defendant in a minor criminal        The GLS assisted the client to obtain
 matter. When our client attended          his records from the Local Court          The Court, to our client’s relief,
 court on the hearing date NSW             which indicated that he had been          granted an annulment of the
 Police recognised that he was not the     convicted of the offence. The GLS         conviction which also resulted in a
 person who had allegedly committed        made several attempts to amend the        withdrawal of the enforcement order
 the offence. NSW Police had arrested      court record on the client’s behalf       of the State Debt Recovery Office.

     Case Study: Victims Compensation                Case Study: Discrimination - Pregnancy
Our client was the victim of a sexual assault.       Our client worked for 5 years as a sales assistant in a retail outlet.
The perpetrator had hidden himself in the            Our client was expected to work extra hours for which she was not
back of our client’s car. While she was driving,     paid and to regularly forgo her lunch break. When she informed
the perpetrator emerged and threatened her           her employer that she was pregnant and that she planned to take
with a weapon before assaulting her. The             maternity leave, her employer was not happy and wanted her to leave
Centre assisted our client with her victims          immediately. The employer appeared to be under the impression that
compensation claim.        She was awarded           he was expected to provide paid maternity leave. He indicated that a
$50,000 for the compensable injury of sexual         pregnant sales assistant was not an image he wanted for his business.
assault Category 3, on the basis of unlawful         He refused to allow her to take toilet breaks during working hours and
sexual intercourse in which the offender uses        to take lunch breaks. He told her she would be dismissed if she took
an offensive weapon. Our client was awarded          any time off due to morning sickness. Our client needed the income
the highest level of compensation available          from work until she went on maternity leave, but found it impossible
under the Victims Support and Rehabilitation         to work under these conditions. Our client informed the employer
Act for the injuries she sustained in the            that she intended to make a discrimination complaint and the Centre
attack.                                              assisted her in reaching a satisfactory settlement with the employer.

         Case Study: Recent Amendments to the Fines Act                              for the internal review of the 2010
                                                                                     penalty notice on the grounds that
 On 31 March 2010, amendments to           are inappropriate.                        he should have been issued with a
 the Fines Act 1996 came into effect.                                                caution under criteria outlined in the
                                           Our client was a male who had a
 In particular, amendments to the Act                                                new guidelines. Further submissions
                                           severe intellectual disability and is
 included:                                                                           and supporting documentation were
                                           under the guardianship of the Public
 a. New standard procedures for            Guardian. Our client committed a          prepared requesting the annulment
 internal review of penalty notices,       minor offence on a railway station in     of the 2007 enforcement order.
 and                                       2010 and the police issued him with
                                                                                     Our client clearly met the criteria
 b. An express power giving all law        a $300 fine.
                                                                                     under the new guidelines. The SDRO
 enforcement officers the discretion
                                           The client attended an appointment        advised that a caution should have
 to give a caution instead of a penalty
                                           at the Centre with his caseworker. An     applied in these circumstances. Both
                                           enquiry to the State Debt Recovery        enforcement orders were withdrawn
 The NSW Attorney General made             Office (SDRO) revealed that our           and enforcement action ceased. Our
 guidelines for the internal review of     client had also received a $250           client would appear to be one of the
 a penalty notice and the issuing of       enforcement order for littering on a      first people to have the opportunity
 cautions instead of fines for a penalty   different railway station in 2007. This   to benefit from the new guidelines,
 notice offence. These guidelines are      meant that our client now had to pay a    which were implemented to protect
 intended to be used for vulnerable        fines amounting to $550. The Centre       people with disabilities from punitive
 people for whom financial penalties       assisted by preparing submissions         measures.

22   Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010
Case Study: Consumer Complaint
Our client was a 77year old pensioner and English is her second language. She came to us
when she received a writ for the levy of property. The writ was in relation to the enforcement
of an unpaid judgment debt against her by a car hire company. The default judgment debt
apparently arose from the cost of the hire of a replacement vehicle whilst our client’s car was
being repaired following a motor vehicle accident in 2005. The other driver was at fault. Both
our client and the other driver were insured by the same insurance company. The insurer met
the claim for the repairs to our client’s vehicle.
The insurer’s authorised car repairer told our client that our client would not have to pay for a
replacement vehicle from a particular car rental company. Our client rented a vehicle from that
car rental company and signed a Deed of Assignment with the car hire company for the debt for
the cost of the car rental. Our client understood that the car hire company would then pursue
the other driver’s insurer for the cost of the car rental. Understandably, our client was very
distressed to receive the writ for the levy of property and notice that the sheriff would attend
her home and take her possessions in satisfaction of the judgment debt some years since the
The Centre investigated the matter and the client was represented in court by John Gooley on
a pro bono basis Our client was fortunate as she had kept the copy of the Deed of Assignment.
It was necessary to attend court on at least three occasions to defend the matter. As our client’s
matter was vigorously defended and the car hire company finally filed a notice of discontinuance
with costs.
It transpired that our client was one of possibly several thousand people who faced legal action
for debts arising from similar circumstances, after whatever arrangement that had existed
between the car hire company and the insurer ceased.

         Case Study: Fines                                     our client could only nominate another person
                                                               as the driver of the car up until an enforcement
         Our client came to the Centre after receiving
                                                               order had been issued. Their position was that
         a notice from the Roads and Traffic Authority
                                                               once an enforcement order had been issued
         (RTA) that suspended his driver license for the
         non-payment of fines. He was an elderly Greek         the only course of action was for our client to
         pensioner with limited English and on-going           make annulment application in the Local Court.
         mental health issues.                                 Going to court would have been a very difficult
                                                               experience for our client and would have
         Our client’s license had been suspended
                                                               involved considerable extra expense.
         because he had failed to pay nine enforcement
         orders issued for parking fines. The total amount
         being claimed by the State Debt Recovery Office       However, we drew the attention of the SDRO
         (SDRO) was more than $1000.                           to a provision of the Fines Act 1996 (NSW) that
                                                               allowed them to withdraw the fines completely
         Our client told us that the parking fines had
                                                               if our client was not the owner of the vehicle at
         been issued after he had sold the car to his
         sister and that his sister’s son had incurred the     the time of the offence. There were difficulties
         fines. He had tried to resolve the matter with        in proving our client was not the owner because
         the SDRO himself but had not been successful.         he had not registered the sale of the vehicle,
         An additional problem was that our client had         but we were able to obtain sufficient proof after
         not registered the sale with the RTA, an offence      liaising with the RTA. On receiving that proof
         under NSW law.                                        and a letter from our client’s doctor detailing his
         We negotiated on our client’s behalf with the         mental health issues, the SDRO accepted our
         SDRO, who initially refused to withdraw the           position. They withdrew the fines and directed
         fines. The SDRO refused on the grounds that           the RTA to reinstate his driver’s license.

                                                               Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010   23
Employment Law                              immediate impact of the global           employees with more opportunities
                                            economic crisis on clients seeking       to exercise workplace rights. The
Employment advice is one of the
                                            employment advice within the             changes introduced were especially
areas of our civil practice. While the
                                            catchment area, particularly casual      relevant to clients employed in the
Centre is not an employment advisory
                                            workers and those employed in            types of small businesses which are
service, the demand for employment
                                            industries such as printing, packaging   prevalent within the catchment area.
law advice has consistently been
                                            and import/export related areas.
one of the largest single areas of our                                               The combination of these factors
general legal practice.                                                              accounts for much of the increase
                                                                                     in the number of clients seeking
The Centre’s catchment area includes
                                                                                     employment advice during this
a high proportion of residents
                                                                                     reporting period.
from socially and economically
disadvantaged communities. Forty
two per cent of the Centre’s clients                                                       2009/2010         Number
are born outside of Australia. Over                                                    Employment Matters
88% of clients self report as having                                                  Information Only            95
a low income. Clients experience
particular difficulties in accessing                                                  Advice                     514
assistance on employment matters                                                      Minor & Medium Case         48
because of social disadvantage in the                                                 assistance
following areas; low income level;
language and literacy; disabilities;                                                  Cases                       31
workplace injuries; low education
                                                                                     In the period 2009/10 the Centre
level; lack of familiarity with basic
                                                                                     provided advice on 514 occasions.
employment rights and the Australian
                                                                                     The graph below shows a significant
industrial relations system; non-union
                                            On 1 July 2009, the Fair Work Act came   increase in demand for employment
                                            into operation. This new legislation     advice over a 3-year period. There
The     Centre    has   witnessed    the    replaced Workchoices and provided        has been an approximately 50%

24    Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010
increase from the 2008/09 reporting         Overall there was an increase in
year to the current reporting period        requests for assistance on all areas
                                                                                       Case Study: Discrimination
and a 70% increase in demand from           of employment problem types and
                                                                                       – Sexual Harassment
2007/2008 to 2009/2010.                     marked increase in the number              Our client worked in a work
                                            of complex employment matters              environment that had a male
The Centre was unable to meet the
                                            handled by the Centre. The highest         dominated culture where swearing
increase in demand by our usual
                                            demand was for advice on unfair            and sexual innuendo were common
appointment system. Therefore,
                                            dismissal, which reflects the number       place. Our client was subjected to
we introduced employment phone
                                            of people who required assistance          inappropriate comments, emails
advice at evening advice sessions to
                                            understanding their rights under the       and pornographic images. On one
enable a larger number of people to
                                            Fair Work Act and practical support        occasion a supervisor attempted to
receive employment advice without
                                            with applications and procedures.          lift up her skirt at a work meeting.
having to wait several weeks for an
                                                                                       Our client made a complaint of
available appointment. Under the Fair       The Centre received a significant          sexual harassment through the
Work Act there is a 14-day limitation       number of employment enquiries             internal complaints procedures,
period for employees to lodge an            concerning redundancy, unpaid              however the situation remained
unfair dismissal application, this factor   wages and entitlements, many of            unresolved. The Centre assisted our
contributed to the number of people         which arose as a consequence of            client to make a formal complaint
seeking advice on an urgent basis.          businesses experiencing financial          to the Anti Discrimination Board
The Centre provides clients with            difficulties and a reluctance to honour    and a negotiated settlement was
information, advice, referral and           their obligations to their employees.      reached.
some representation on employment           A sizeable number of employers had
matters. We assist clients to draft         not paid superannuation or other
applications and complaints. Ongoing        statutory entitlements. In a number of    Case Study: Unfair Dismissal
assistance is provided at key stages        cases employees had been dismissed
                                            after making formal complaints            Our client is a sole parent who was
of the process, such as preparation
                                            to the Fair Work Ombudsman or             employed on a permanent basis
for conciliation, drafting responses
                                            the Australian Taxation Office with       for the past 3 years as a daytime
and preparing evidence. We provide
                                            respect to non payment of wages and       bar supervisor at a hotel. In 2009,
representation to clients from
                                            entitlements which led to the filing      the business was sold and the new
culturally and linguistically diverse
                                            of unlawful termination applications      owners continually changed the
backgrounds (CALD) and other
                                            under the Fair Work Act.                  roster causing our client problems
vulnerable clients where possible. At
                                                                                      with her childcare arrangements. In
least 30% of clients provided with
                                            We also saw a significant increase        response to our client’s concerns
assistance with employment matters
                                            in the number of complex                  about the roster, the new owners
are from a CALD background.
                                            discrimination matters, in particular     reduced our client’s shifts and
The Centre’s capacity to assist             sexual     harassment      complaints     hired new staff. Our client was
vulnerable clients with representation      and discrimination on the basis of        subjected to complaints about her
has been greatly enhanced by the            pregnancy and carer responsibilities.     work performance and effectively
contribution of Pat McDonough. Pat          There was a further increase in the       dismissed as her shifts were reduced
is a specialist employment solicitor.       number of clients requesting assistance   to being on call as a casual. Our
Pat has worked as both a locum              with workplace issues such as bullying    client made an unfair dismissal claim
solicitor and a volunteer at the            and harassment, which unfortunately       and the Centre represented the client
Centre during the reporting period.         continues to be problem in many           at conciliation and a settlement was
Pat represented a significant number        areas of employment.                      negotiated.
of vulnerable clients at conciliations
at Fair Work Australia and achieved         Case Study: Underpayment of wages
successful outcomes for these clients.      Our client is a recently arrived immigrant to Australia. Through a fellow
The Fair Work Act contains specific         countryman, he was offered a job at a car wash business. He worked 12 hours
provisions to allow organisations           per day 7 days a week. When he started he was told that he was on trial for
such as community legal centres             3 weeks and he would not be paid. Instead he was given a bus travel pass
to represent vulnerable clients at          so that he could get to work during the trial period. After he completed the
conciliation and to request face-to-        trial period he was paid $10 an hour to work 84 hours per week over 7 days.
face conferences. The Centre’s clients      He worked these shifts for several months. Later the client became aware
have whole-heartedly expressed their        that he had been underpaid and that in Australia he was not expected to
appreciation of the assistance given by     work under such conditions. The Centre has been assisting our client with his
Pat on their individual employment          underpayment of wages claim.

                                                                     Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010   25
 Children’s                                The Children’s Legal Service (CLS) is
                                           an integral part of Marrickville Legal
                                                                                    and law reform projects (though the
                                                                                    Youth Justice Coalition) and general

 Legal Service                             Centre and has provided a state-wide
                                           service to children and young people
                                                                                    legal support. Many thanks go to all
                                                                                    the student volunteers, in particular:

 2009/10                                   in NSW since 1979.                       •   Gemma Lardner – paralegal
                                                                                        (Bankstown Youth Outreach and
                                           There are just a few solicitors in
 Annual Report                             the NSW community legal sector               Youth Justice Coalition)
                                           who provide advice to children and       •   Linton Teoh – student volunteer
                                           young people and Marrickville Legal      •   Han Yong – student volunteer
                                           Centre is very proud to have the only
                                           designated Children’s Legal Service.     What is the Children’s Legal
                                           Staffing and Volunteers
                                                                                    The Children’s Legal Service (CLS)
                                           Katrina Wong was the full-time           provides information, advice and
                                           Children’s Solicitor and Mark Patrick    legal representation for young
                                           took over in a locum position from 9     people under the age of 18. Our
                                           June 2010. The Children’s Solictor was   clients experience a range of legal
                                           assisted by 2 seconded solicitors from   problems including criminal matters,
                                           Corrs Chambers Westgarth (Corrs).        fines, victim’s compensation, rights in
                                           Each secondee attended Marrickville      education and employment, debts,
                                           Legal Centre once a week. The Corrs      complaints about government bodies,
                                           secondees for 2009/10 were Steve         and other civil proceedings.
                                           Johnson, Tommy Kam and Isabelle
                                           Paton.                                   The CLS is also committed to providing
                                                                                    a strategic and responsive community
                                                                                    legal education program. We work
                                                                                    closely with various youth services
                                           The CLS has been lucky to have           and provide regular workshops, talks
                                           been supported by the enthusiastic       and Q & A sessions for young people,
                                           and dedicated assistance of law          as well as community sector workers
                                           student volunteers. These volunteers     working with young people. We also
                                           provided essential support in            contribute to the Centre’s Community
                                           administration, legal research, policy   Legal Education program.

26   Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010
                                                                                  explained to our client, and there
                                                                                  was no action by the mobile phone
                                                                                  companies to determine whether our
                                                                                  client had the financial capacity to
                                                                                  afford the contracts. Our client was
                                                                                  16 at the time she entered into the
                                                                                  contracts and was homeless. She had
                                                                                  defaulted on her payments and owed
                                                                                  over $1200 in fees as she thought that
                                                                                  the maximum she would be charged
                                                                                  each month was $30. We successfully
                                                                                  made submissions under the Contracts
                                                                                  Review Act that the contracts were
                                                                                  unjust, and that the contracts were
                                                                                  not binding as they were not made
                                                                                  for her benefit as required under the
                                                                                  Minors (Property and Contracts) Act.
                                                                                  We were successful in cancelling the
                                                                                  contracts without penalty, and having
                                                                                  the outstanding amounts waived.

                                                                                  Criminal Law – drug and
S from left: Katrina Wong (Children’s Solicitor), Kieran Egan (Corrs              alcohol rehabilitation
secondee) and Gemma Lardner (Children’s Paralegal) at the launch of the Bail
Report                                                                            • We represented a 19 year old
                                                                                  male who had been charged with
The CLS plays a key role in             complaints about police and young         various driving offences. Our client
responding to policy and law reform     people’s rights in public spaces. Some    had a history of homelessness and
issues affecting young people.          examples of our casework include:         had experienced drug and alcohol
This is undertaken through the                                                    issues which had led to his re-
usual work of the CLS, as well as       Consumer – mobile phone                   offending. We made submissions
through participation in the Youth      contract                                  to the Magistrate that our client
Justice Coalition and local Youth       • We assisted a young person in           should be diverted away from the
Interagencies.                          relation to a number of mobile phone      criminal justice system and given the
                                        contracts that she had signed. Each       opportunity to participate in drug and
Casework                                of these contracts were part of a ‘cap’   alcohol treatment. The Magistrate
                                        plan for $30 a month. The term and        agreed and without conviction,
The CLS provides an accessible          conditions of each contract were not      placed our client on a bond, with
telephone and face-to-face legal
advice and information service to
young people and youth workers
across NSW. The CLS is frequently
used by young people, adults calling
on behalf of young people and youth
workers calling on behalf of their
clients. Approximately 24% of the
young people who used the CLS
were from a non-English speaking
background, and approximately 3%
were from Aboriginal or Torres Strait
Islander background.

The CLS undertook a significant
amount of casework during the past
year. We provided assistance, advice
and representation to young people
in a variety of legal matters, most
predominantly in the area of criminal
law, fines, victim’s compensation,

                                                                 Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010   27
part of the conditions of the bond to
attend drug and alcohol counselling.

Victims Compensation
• We assisted a client in a victim’s
compensation application in relation
to an aggravated sexual assault that
occurred in a public park, with a
number of perpetrators. Our client
was 14 years old at the time the
assault occurred and had suffered
physical injuries as well as significant
psychological harm as a result of
this. We were successful in making
submissions for an interim award to
be given to our client, as she was at
risk of homelessness and was soon to
be expecting a child. We are currently
waiting on the final determination for
                                           and provides a free fortnightly drop-      to see a lawyer on their own also
this matter.
                                           in service for young people under the      led to the introduction of a program
Our casework is supported by private       age of 25 with access to lawyers for       of community legal education
solicitors and barristers, who provide     legal advice, information or referrals     seminars (CLEs), where general
pro bono advice and assistance in a        for any legal issues they may be facing.   legal information was provided to
variety of matters. We would like to                                                  young people in an informal, group
                                           The youth legal drop in service
thank Maurice Blackburn, and the pro                                                  atmosphere.
                                           operates out of BMYS’ drop in
bono coordinators at Blake Dawson,
                                           centre, the “Homebass Youth Cafe”,         Young people seek advice on a wide
Gilbert + Tobin and Clayton Utz for
                                           in Bankstown from 3-5:30pm on a            range of legal issues at Homebass.
all their assistance.
                                           Tuesday afternoon. The outreach            The types of legal issues we have seen
                                           is staffed by Katrina Wong (CLS            at the Outreach include fines, debt
Homebass Youth Outreach
                                           solicitor), the Corrs secondee solicitor   owed by the young people, traffic
Legal Service – Bankstown
                                           and a student volunteer. The CLS           offences, minor criminal matters,
The Homebass youth legal outreach          works closely with the staff at BMYS,      complaints against policy and a
service has been operating since           particularly with the street workers,      variety of other civil matters. The age
August 2008 in Bankstown. The drop         who have been pivotal in referring         distribution of the young people seen
in service is a partnership developed      young people to the drop in service.       by the CLS at Homebass is shown
between the CLS and Bankstown              This demand for general advice and         above.
Multicultural Youth Service (BMYS)         the reluctance of many young people
                                                                                      43 young people sought advice
 Profile – Isabelle Paton                                                             through the Homebass outreach and
                                                                                      a total of 72 advices were given. Of
 For the past six months, I have been seconded out to the Children’s
                                                                                      these young people:
 Legal Service of Marrickville Legal Centre one day a week, under the
 supervision of Katrina Wong. I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I              •   The vast majority come from non
 first went there, but after meeting all of the very friendly and helpful staff           English speaking backgrounds;
 there and being treated to a lunch of mind-blowing pork belly (love of
                                                                                      •   Only 2 (4%) were in any form of
 food is a prerequisite at MLC!), I knew I was onto a good thing.
                                                                                          employment and 17 (40%) rely
 While at times it’s been a steep learning curve, the lessons and skills                  on government income support .
 I have been taught during my time at MLC have been invaluable.
                                                                                      The outreach has been a great
 From drafting representations to the DPP or submissions for victims
                                                                                      success, with many marginalised
 compensations applications, to providing on-the-spot advice to young
                                                                                      young people building a rapport with
 people at MLC’s outreach program at HomeBass in Bankstown in a way
                                                                                      the CLS and feeling comfortable to
 they will understand, I have developed drafting and interviewing skills
                                                                                      seek legal assistance.
 that are essential for any lawyer. It was also really great to see the results
 of your advice and be able to make a positive impact on a young person’s             The Homebass youth legal outreach
 life.                                                                                service would not have been possible
                                                                                      without the initiative and partnership

28   Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010
of Bankstown Multicultural Youth          experience, with the CLS benefiting      Service, where they have assisted in
Service. Special thanks must go to        from the additional expertise            providing advice to young people,
the BMYS workers Julie Kapsalides,        stemming from this secondment.           as well as conducting CLEs in a
Andrew Palamene and Russell, who                                                   challenging and robust environment.
                                          Many thanks to the solicitors at the
are our referral point for many of the                                             They have contributed to significant
                                          Parramatta Aboriginal Legal Service’s
young people in the Bankstown area.                                                law reform initiatives through the
                                          Office who have provided support
We look forward to another year of                                                 YJC, including legal research and
                                          and guidance in this secondment, in
working with BMYS in 2010.                                                         submission writing. Our thanks to
                                          particular managing solicitor Sergio
                                                                                   Kieran, Steve, Isabelle and Tommy
Particular mention must also go to        Dogulin and Slade Howell.
                                                                                   for all their hard work and dedication
                                                                                   to the CLS – their commitment and
                                                                                   assistance has been invaluable in
                                                                                   providing much needed support to
                                                                                   the CLS in delivering legal services
                                                                                   to young people. Many thanks must
                                                                                   go to Dixon Hearder (Corrs pro bono
                                                                                   partner) who was instrumental in
                                                                                   establishing the secondment program
                                                                                   and in expanding the pro bono
                                                                                   services that Corrs have provided to
                                                                                   the CLS. We are sad to hear of the
                                                                                   departure of Dixon from Corrs, but
                                                                                   welcome the opportunity to work
                                                                                   with Alison Moran, national pro bono
                                                                                   manager in 2010.

                                                                                   Community Legal Education
                                                                                   The CLS conducted a wide range
                                                                                   of community legal education
S YJC bail advocates meet the Minister for Juvenile Justice, Graham West.          workshops, seminars, Q&A’s and
Brenda Baily (PIAC), Dianna T Kenny (University of Sydney), Minister Graham        presentations on issues relating to
West, Katrina Wong (Marrickville Legal Centre) and Jenny Bargan (YJC)              police powers, street rights, victim’s
                                                                                   compensation, fines, graffiti law and
the Corrs secondee solicitors (Steven     Corrs Chambers Westgarth                 criminal law, including the following:
Johnson and Isabelle Paton) who           Pro Bono Secondee Program                •   Providing regular legal education
assisted in providing legal advice, and                                                workshops for young people at
                                          The pro bono partnership with
to student volunteer Gemma Lardner                                                     Rosemount Youth and Family
                                          Corrs Chambers Westgarth (Corrs)
for her commitment and assistance to                                                   Services day program; Marrickville
                                          continues to flourish, providing
the youth outreach service.                                                            Youth Resource Centre’s ‘Links
                                          additional needed assistance to the
                                          CLS. In early 2009, Corrs expanded           to Learning’ Program; at the
Secondment to the                         this partnership to include the              Bankstown Youth Outreach and
Aboriginal Legal Service                  secondment of an extral solicitor on         at a variety of youth refuges
                                          a once a week basis. Corrs have also     •   Responding to requests for
The secondment of the CLS solicitor on
                                          generously shared the hosting duties         workshops for youth workers and
a once a week basis to the Aboriginal
                                          of the YJC meetings in 2009.                 young people from local youth
Legal Service in Parramatta continued
                                                                                       interagencies, youth services and
in 2009-2010. This secondment has         In 2009 - 2010, we had the pleasure
been a successful partnership which       of having 4 Corrs secondees work
has provided valuable training and        within the CLS: Kieran Egan, Steven      •   Presenting a session on young
resources to the CLS solicitor. This      Johnson, Isabelle Paton and Tommy            people and bail at the NSW
year saw Katrina continue as the          Kam. Each of these solicitors had            Community     Legal    Centre’s
duty solicitor at Parramatta Children’s   carriage of significant cases and            Conference.
Court      representing      Aboriginal   provided invaluable support and          •   Participating in the Centre’s CLE
young people, which has included          assistance in the advice and casework        program by presenting workshops
defended hearings, sentences and          of the CLS. The Corrs solicitor plays        to community workers on young
bail applications. It has been an         an integral part in the legal service        people and group offences and
extremely challenging and rewarding       delivery of the Homebass Outreach            traffic offences.

                                                                  Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010   29
                                                                                    YJC “Bail Me Out” report
                                                                                    After over a year of researching
                                                                                    and collecting data for this project,
                                                                                    the YJC finally published its report,
                                                                                    titled Bail Me Out – Young People
                                                                                    and Bail. This report is available
                                                                                    online at

                                                                                    In response to the increasing
                                                                                    numbers of young people on
                                                                                    remand in NSW, the YJC undertook
                                                                                    its own research on the issue of bail
                                                                                    and its impact on young people
                                                                                    in the juvenile justice system. In
                                                                                    undertaking this research, the YJC
S Human Rights Commissioner Catherine Branson (r) presenting Katrina
Wong with finalist award at the National Children’s Law Awards                      sought to identify the types of bail
                                                                                    conditions imposed on young
Law Reform and Policy Work                 (NCYLC) and Mallesons Stephen            people, the number of young
                                           Jaques, and recognise and reward         people held in custody for breach
Youth Justice Coalition                    the individuals and organisations who    of those bail conditions and the
                                           advance the legal rights and interests   extent to which homelessness
The Youth Justice Coalition (YJC) is a     of children and young people in          played a role in young people
network of youth workers, children’s       Australia. The awards were presented     remaining in custody.
lawyers, policy workers and academics      by The Hon. Catherine Branson QC,
working to promote the rights of           Human Rights Commissioner.               The key findings from the research
children and young people in NSW.                                                   showed that:
The YJC is convened by Katrina Wong                                                 •   60% of young people surveyed
                                           Other Law Reform Activities
and meets on a bi-monthly basis. We                                                     were in custody for breaching
would like to thank the generosity of      • Submissions Inquiry into spent
                                                                                        their bail conditions;
Gilbert + Tobin, Blake Dawson and          convictions for juvenile offenders –
                                           Legislative Council’s Law and Justice    •   More than half of these young
Corrs who have jointly hosted the YJC
                                           Committee (February 2010) and the            people had not committed
meetings and allowed us the use of
                                           giving of evidence at the Committee’s        new offences;
their venues.
                                           hearing in April 2010                    •   Almost one quarter of those on
This year has seen a very busy year                                                     remand were in statutory care
                                           • Statutory     Review   of   the
with the YJC, with the carrying out of                                                  or at risk of harm;
                                           Commission for Children and Young
our own research in relation to bail
                                           People Act 1998                          •   Almost one fifth of young
and young people (detailed below),
                                                                                        people    surveyed   were
as well as the active participation in
various law reform initiatives.
                                           Consultations/policy                         homeless.

                                           The YJC continues to be actively
National Children’s Law                    involved with law reform, with
Award – Finalist                           our continued participation in
In April 2010, Katrina Wong, CLS           consultations  with     the    NSW
solicitor was a finalist in the National   government. This has included:
Children’s Law Awards for outstanding      •   Committee member in the
contribution to advocacy in policy or          Attorney General’s Department
law reform to advance the legal rights         Working Group on Work and
and interests of children & young              Development Orders and other
People. Katrina was nominated by               changes to the Fines Act.
the Shopfront Youth Legal Centre, the      •   Committee member in the
Youth Action and Policy Association            Department of Premier and
and Marrickville Legal Centre in the           Cabinet’s Youth Conduct Orders
                                           •   Advocacy on the National Youth
The National Children’s Law Awards             Participation Requirement with
were organised by the National                 NSW Department of Education              S Cover of the “Bail Me Out”
Children’s Youth and Law Centre                and Training                             Report

30   Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010
                                                                                    further bail application. However,
                                                                                    this amendment does not go far
                                                                                    enough in reducing the numbers
                                                                                    of young people unnecessarily
                                                                                    held on remand. To date, the
                                                                                    YJC has sent out copies of the Bail
                                                                                    Me Out report, as well as letters
                                                                                    seeking the adoption of the YJC’s
                                                                                    recommendations, to government
                                                                                    ministers, shadow ministers and
                                                                                    government departments. This
                                                                                    advocacy will continue in the lead
                                                                                    up to the State Election in 2011.
                                                                                    As a result of the Bail Me Out
                                                                                    report, the YJC has participated in:
                                                                                    • Case Study of the Bail Me Out
                                                                                      report and associated findings
                                                                                      at the National Juvenile Justice
                                                                                      Summit in Melbourne March
                                                                                    • Interview with Done by Law
                                                                                      community radio program on
                                                                                      “Kids Locked up for no good
                                                                                      reason – NSW Young offenders
                                                                                      and bail” – 2 March 2010
                                                                                      (available at www.donebylaw.
                                                                                    • Contemporary comment written
                                                                                      by Jenny Bargen (YJC member) in
                                                                                      Current Issues in Criminal Justice:
                                                                                      Volume 21 Number 3, March
                                                                                      2010, “Bail/Remand Crisis and
                                                                                      Young People”
                                                                                    • The presentation of the Bail
                                                                                      Me Out report at the NSW
                                                                                      Community     Legal  Centres
S Cover of the “Bail Me Out” Report                                                   Conference May 2010
                                                                                Without the assistance, dedication
The report was co-written by Katrina   Remand – bail solutions for children
                                                                                and support of the following people,
Wong (MLC), Brenda Bailey from         and young people in NSW”,
                                                                                the YJC Bail Me Out report would
the Public Interest Advocacy Centre    alongside publicising the YJC’s Bail
                                                                                not have occurred. Special thanks
(PIAC), and Professor Dianna King      Me Out report. YJC member, Jenny
                                                                                go to the following people:
from Sydney University.                Bargen spoke at the launch on behalf
                                       of the YJC about the details of the      •    Brenda Bailey (PIAC)
The Bail Me Out report was
                                       Bail Me Out report.                      •    Professor Diana Kenny (Sydney
launched in partnership with
                                       Since the release of the Bail Me Out          University)
UnitingCare Burnside and the
Council of Social Services NSW         report, there has been concentrated      •    Jenny Bargen (CHD Partners and
(NCOSS) in September 2009, which       advocacy in publicising the issue             YJC member)
was followed by an official launch     and lobbying for changes to bail         •    UnitingCare          Burnside,
at NSW Parliament House on 28          legislation. This advocacy has                particularly Romola Hollywood
October 2009. The then Minister        resulted in the amendment of section          and Clare Blakemore
for Juvenile Justice, Graham West,     22A of the Bail Act (NSW) which has
                                                                                •    Dev Mukhajee (NCOSS)
launched the UnitingCare Burnside’s    softened the impact on the criteria of
report “Releasing the pressure on      whether or not a Court may hear a        •    Gemma Lardner (MLC paralegal)

                                                                Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010         31
 Annual Report                             The tenancy service provides an advice and
                                           advocacy service to tenants, boarders and lodgers
 July 2009 –                               living in the following Local Government Areas:
 June 2010                                 Marrickville, Ashfield, Strathfield, Burwood and
 Tenancy                                   Canada Bay.
                                           The service also provides community education
                                           for tenants and community workers on a range of
                                           tenancy issues.

                                           Tenancy Workers                          our service in 2006. She is heading
                                                                                    overseas to take up an Ausaid position
                                           The current members of the tenancy       with an anti corruption organisation
                                           team are Elizabeth De Freitas, Julia     in the Solomon Islands. We wish
                                           Murray and Eloise Parrab.                her all the best for her new exciting
                                           Elizabeth De Freitas has taken a         role and thank her for her valuable
                                           leave of absence while she takes up      contribution to our service over the
                                           a paralegal position at the Tenants’     years.

                                                                                    From July to November 2009 the
                                                                                    service supervised a Social Work
                                                                                    student from University of Sydney.
                                                                                    Sunny enjoyed his time with our team
                                                                                    and was given the opportunity to be
                                                                                    involved in a wide variety of activities.
                                                                                    We wish him well with the rest of his

                                                                                    Case work
                                                                                    In the past 12 months the tenancy
                                                                                    team has advised 1490 clients.
                                                                                    22 of these clients were boarders
                                                                                    and lodgers. Social Housing clients
                                                                                    (Housing      NSW       (HNSW)     and
                                           Union. Alex Azarov has been filling      Community Housing) made up 8.6%
                                           this position while Elizabeth has been   of all callers to the service and the
                                           absent but he is now heading to QLD      remainder were private renters. 19 of
                                           to complete his Masters in Alternative   our clients identified as Aboriginal or
                                           Dispute Resolution and we will miss      Torres Strait Islander.
                                           him. We hope he will return after
                                                                                    During this period we assisted 389
                                           completing his studies.
                                                                                    clients with preparing their cases for
                                           In the last 12 months the following      the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy
                                           locums assisted us and we thank them     Tribunal (CTTT) and represented
                                           for their fabulous work                  92 of these clients at their hearings
                                                                                    with many requiring more then one
                                           •   Sophie Farrell                       attendance at the Tribunal.
                                           •   Rafael Mazzoldi
                                                                                    We sent follow up written information
                                           •   Jamie Martin
                                                                                    to 26% of all clients and many others
                                           Sophie Farrell has been locuming         we referred to the Tenants’ Union
                                           with our service since she completed     website to access fact sheets and
                                           her Social Work placement with           sample letters.

32   Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010
We     commenced        outreach   at         the two afternoon hearing lists. NSW      Newtown Neighbourhood Centre
Newtown Neighbourhood Centre                  Fair Trading is currently undertaking a   and People With Disabilities to share
once a fortnight. The service was             review of Duty Advocacy and we are        information and to discuss lobbying
not taken up as well as we hoped              hopeful that we may obtain additional     directions. The main goal after the
so we negotiated with the centre to           funding so that we can expand our         meeting was to explore the resistance
do an outreach service with other             Duty Advocacy.                            to law reform on the issue of boarding
organisations. Since February 2010                                                      houses.
                                              During this period we assisted 70
we have been doing outreach once a
                                              tenants at Duty Advocacy.
week with Housing NSW, Centrelink
and solicitors from our service. This
                                                                                        NSW Homelessness Action
                                              Boarders and Lodgers                      Plan
has increased the number of tenants
we have assisted through outreach             The tenancy team has renewed
                                                                                        We attended the Coastal Sydney
but we hope that it will become more          lobbying and networking efforts on
                                                                                        Region workshop for the NSW
popular.                                      the issue of boarders & lodgers. It is
                                                                                        Homelessness Action Plan and have
                                              good to see that the Tenants’ Union
                                                                                        made supporting submissions. A
Duty Advocacy                                 has now prioritised this issue in its
                                                                                        boarding house support service for
                                              lobbying agenda.
This has continued to be an important                                                   inner Sydney (including inner West)
part of our service’s role in assisting and                                             is now being considered for funding.
                                              Boarding House meeting
representing people at the Consumer,                                                    We are very excited about this
Trader and Tenancy Tribunal. We               We convened a meeting at Marrickville     possibility and will work closely with
have attended once a fortnight for            Legal Centre with the Tenants’ Union,     the service if it is established.

                                                                       Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010   33
     S Marrickville Legal Centre and the Tenancy team meet representatives from NSW Fair Trading

Boarding House Project                     to discuss the role of Council and        or had mental health issues and
(Newtown Neighbourhood                     the importance of engaging with           needed assistance with re-housing.
Centre)                                    organisations that assist the homeless.   We engaged several organisations
                                           This meeting strengthened our             including Uniting Care, People With
We spent half a day with the boarding      cooperation with Marrickville Council     Disabilities, Inner West Neighbour
house project worker at NNC visiting       and, in turn, assisted the homelessness   Aid and Newtown Neighbourhood
boarding houses in the inner West.         / boarding house research currently       Centre to assist the residents. As a
This was a very valuable experience        being undertaken by Marrickville          result, all but one of the residents were
and    has     complemented       our      Council.                                  successfully re-housed and we are still
subsequent work on improving living                                                  assisting the remaining resident. We
standards at boarding houses.              Lodger eviction                           also used this case study to lobby for a
                                                                                     boarding house support service.
Boarding House Tenants’                    We represented an alleged lodger at
Forum                                      the Tribunal in a lock-out matter. We
                                                                                     Boarding House Owners’
                                           successfully argued that the occupant
We spoke at the boarding house                                                       Forum
                                           was covered by the Residential
tenants’ forum organised by the NNC        Tenancies Act 1987 and, as a result,      We spoke at the boarding house
boarding house project. The aim of the     our client was awarded $2,000             owners’ forum organised by the NNC
talk was to educate boarding house         compensation.                             boarding house project. We explained
residents about CTTT jurisdiction and                                                the idea of occupancy agreements
our service. As a result, we have had                                                and discussed various issues with
several inquiries and are getting more     Burwood eviction
                                                                                     each of the 7 owners present. The
referrals from the boarding house          We assisted seven residents of a          aim of this was to inform our future
project.                                   boarding house in Burwood who             lobbying efforts as well as to create
                                           had received a notice of termination.     a better relationship with boarding
Marrickville Council                       The owner had sold the property           house owners to assist future dispute
We organised a meeting with                and required vacant possession.           resolution. Incidentally, the following
Marrickville Council and Our Place         The residents were either elderly         day we assisted in negotiations

34   Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010
between a boarding house resident
and one of the owners we met at the

Newtown Agencies Group
We attended and spoke at the
Newtown agencies group meeting
run by NNC. We shared information
and discussed a variety of approaches
that could be taken to achieve better
regulation and living conditions at
boarding houses. It was good to see
active participation by Marrickville
Council and local agencies, as well
as the strong support of the NNC
boarding house project. The main
resolution of the meeting was to
organise a forum to implement the
approaches discussed.

Tenants’ Union
We attended both Tenants’ Union
policy group and Tenants’ Union
legal working party meetings and
discussed the issue of boarders/
lodgers. We have provided the results
of our research so far to the Tenants’
Union and have organised for the         A police siege had been conducted in a Housing NSW block. One of the
involvement of the Australian Bureau     tenants’ units had been used to hold a person against his will and assault
of Statistics in the proposed forum.     him. The tenant who lived in the unit had been out at the time that his
The aim of this would be to achieve      unit was accessed, and when he returned had been denied access to
maximum involvement of boarding          his own premises. A number of people were charged in relation to the
house residents in the next 2011         incident, but the tenant was never detained or charged.
                                         Housing NSW issued a notice of termination for illegal use of the premises
The Tenants’ Union is now organising     on the basis that illegal acts had been conducted at the premises and that
a forum that should make use of          therefore the tenant was responsible.
the experience of many relevant
organisations and set up goals that      We argued that there was no evidence that the tenant had been involved
would drive the new lobbying effort.     in any way in the crime. The landlord’s application for termination was
We have suggested many areas of          dismissed by the Tribunal.
implementation, including accurate

 Three tenants came to see us because they had             understanding about the circumstances in which the
 recently had a property inspection conducted by an        sub tenants found themselves.
 agent. The agent didn’t know who they were, as the
                                                           We represented the tenants in a three-hour conciliation
 agent had signed an agreement with another tenant.
                                                           that included a solicitor engaged by the head tenant.
 This tenant had sublet to them, without ever occupying
                                                           The outcome was very positive, with the tenants
 the premises. The three tenants were paying $100 per
                                                           recovering most of their bond and a month of free
 week more than the head tenants had signed up for
                                                           rent. More importantly, the real estate agent signed the
 with the agent.
                                                           tenants up to a new lease. They were able to remain
 We assisted the tenants to apply to the Tribunal to be    at the premises while paying fair rent to the landlord
 recognised as tenants. We sent a copy of the hearing      rather than the inflated rent previously charged by the
 notice to the head tenant. At all times we maintained     head tenant.
 contact with the agent who was very co-operative and

                                                               Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010   35
data gathering (including the setting      Legal    Studies    Students   from        all aspects of the legislation on behalf
up of a database), service networking,     Blackwattle High School and Naemi.         of the Tenants’ Advice and Advocacy
working with local Councils and                                                       Program Network. The new bill has
                                           We also ran sessions on priority housing
police, awareness-raising campaigns                                                   been passed by parliament but will
                                           and tenancy rights for the Centre’s
(including a film documentary),                                                       not come into effect until later this
                                           Law for Community Workers program.
occupancy agreements, economic                                                        year and until the creation of the new
                                           These sessions were very popular and
modelling, mental health/drug &                                                       regulations.
                                           well received by the workers.
substance abuse issues and others.
                                                                                      We have also been involved in
                                                                                      the Tenants’ Union policy group
Summary                                    Policy Work
                                                                                      meetings. We stimulated discussion
As a result of our work on the issue       The team submitted a submission to         on issues relevant to our service, such
of boarders and lodgers, we have           NSW Fair Trading in response to the        as boarders and lodgers, share housing
developed a stronger network with          Draft Residential Tenancies Legislation    and ‘no grounds’ terminations. We
relevant organisations, including          that was released in December 2009.        continue to provide case studies that
Marrickville Council and Newtown           Alex wrote our submission, which           inform policy discussions and assist
Neighbourhood Centre. We aim to            focused on the share housing provision     the Tenants’ Union with relevant
continue this pro-active approach          in the legislation. The Tenants’ Union     lobbying efforts.
and to work on a multi-faceted             submitted a submission that covered
networking and lobbying effort to
improve the lives of boarders and           A young Aboriginal woman with a young baby had a lengthy history of
lodgers in NSW.                             transience and homelessness. She applied for priority housing and was
                                            housed in a block of units, in close proximity to her ex partner’s aunt.
Tenants Union Hotline                       It soon became clear that the tenant was experiencing harassment from
The tenancy team ran a Hotline shift        this person and that the whole neighbourhood was being disrupted by
once a week from July to December           these events. The tenant was very concerned that other people were able
2009. From January 2010, following          to access her premises due to security failures in the complex and her
a review by the Tenants’ Union,             unit.
the Hotline’s operation was now             The tenant quickly sought an urgent transfer, due to the ongoing
operated directly from the Tenants’         harassment and risk to her safety. HNSW declined this transfer
Union office from 3 pm to 6 pm on           application and the situation for the tenant continued to deteriorate, as
Mondays.                                    she became involved with a man who initially acted in a protective role,
                                            but developed into a perpetrator of serious domestic violence against her
The Hotline was a great way for our
                                            and her daughter. The tenant was forced to flee to regional NSW, where
service to train volunteers on tenancy
                                            she had some family connections, and felt she was a safe distance from
law. Over the years many of these
                                            the violence she had experienced in Sydney. HNSW subsequently issued
volunteers went on to become locums
                                            a notice of termination for noise and nuisance. The list of particulars of
in our service.
                                            the breaches was extensive.
Community Legal Education                   We attended the first Tribunal hearing where HNSW asserted that they
                                            would be seeking termination. HNSW also indicated that it was not
The tenancy team ran community
                                            possible to progress the tenant’s transfer application due to the pending
information stalls at number of events
                                            noise and nuisance termination. We pressed the tenant’s circumstances
Marrickville Festival, Ashfield Carnival
                                            and the desperation of her current situation. Our office continued to try
of Cultures, Anti Poverty Week,
                                            to engage in a dialogue with HNSW about the tenant’s situation, but their
Ashfield Harmony Day, Petersham
                                            office was consistently uncontactable.
TAFE, Yabun Festival, Seniors Week
Expo, Womens Corroboree, Fair Day.          HNSW failed to comply with the Tribunal’s exchange of document
                                            deadline. We wrote to the Tribunal and sought that the matter be dismissed
Education sessions were held for            as a result. The Tribunal registry indicated that only a Member could do
organisations including Canterbury          so, and we’d have to wait until the hearing to make our argument.
Bankstown Migrant Resource Centre
                                            Subsequently HNSW agreed that they would support a transfer for the
Vietnamese Group, Orana Lodge, Our
                                            tenant to the country. We reported that unfortunately the tenant had
Place, Multi Mix Indigenous Playgroup,
                                            not found the area viable from a support and transport point of view.
Adult Migrant Education Service,
                                            She sought a transfer to Sydney. After initial reluctance to consider this
May Murray Neighbourhood Centre
                                            option, HNSW eventually identified a property in this area and, some
Vietnamese Group, Multicultural
                                            weeks later it was offered to the tenant. It is a nice house in a quiet area,
Women’s Group, Stepping Stone
                                            close to supportive family.
House, Metro Sierra Leone Group,

36   Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010
A social worker from the local hospital contacted
us to request help for one of their patients who
was a Housing NSW tenant and received a
hearing notice to attend the Consumer, Trader
and Tenancy Tribunal hearing the following day.
He had received a notice of termination on the
grounds that a visitor of his unit had assaulted one
of the neighbours.

Our client was in hospital at the time of the assault
and was the victim of elder abuse by this person.
Our client was in his 60’s and very unwell due
to many years of alcohol abuse; he had alcohol-
induced brain damage. Our client was not in any
position to stop people coming into his unit and
was being taken advantage by many
others. Home care services had stopped           An elderly tenant contacted us         Finally, the last of the repairs
coming to the unit due to safety concerns.       about a range of repairs issues        were carried out. The tenant got
                                                 at his home. These included a          a new oven and a new, sturdy
Our client was in and out of hospital but
                                                 leaking hot water system, taps         front door. The day before the
in the times he was at home was not
                                                 and toilet as well as a flimsy front   compensation hearing, the real
getting any medical care or assistance
                                                 door and an oven that hadn’t           estate agent visited the tenant
with day to day tasks. We were able to
                                                 been working for 18 months.            and had him sign a new 6-month
get the CTTT hearing adjourned. We also
                                                 The tenant had made numerous           lease. After the tenant informed
contacted services in the area and were
                                                 requests unsuccessfully before         us of this, we withdrew the
able to have Homecare resumed. We
                                                 finally seeking our assistance.        compensation application and
also requested Housing NSW to carry
                                                                                        thought that the matter was
out some repairs to the property, which
                                                 We contacted the real estate           resolved.
would assist our client in keeping out
unwanted visitors. Our client requested a        agent, setting out the tenant’s
transfer to another area to get away from        repairs requests. Some repairs         It turned out that on the same
the people who were taking advantage of          were carried out. Before the           day as his visit, the real estate
him. Our client was housed by Housing            expiry of the 30 day limitation        agent had posted a termination
NSW a few years earlier and they were            period, we assisted the tenant         notice to the tenant alleging rent
aware of his medical condition yet               with an application to the CTTT        arrears. He was now claiming
despite reports from police over the             seeking orders for outstanding         that the landlord refused to sign
years they had not taken any steps to put        repairs and compensation in            the new lease for this reason.
in services to assist our client. While we       the form of a backdated rent
were in the process of negotiating with          reduction.                             We immediately confirmed
Housing NSW to transfer our client and                                                  with the tenant that he was not
withdraw their Tribunal application our          At the initial hearing, consent        in arrears. Infuriated by the
client passed away.                              orders were made for repairs           agent’s underhanded tactics, we
                                                 to be carried out and the              demanded prompt resolution
                                                 compensation        matter      was    of the matter and threatened
                                                 adjourned. With some repairs           disciplinary action with the
                                                 still outstanding, we attended         Office of Fair Trading. The agent
                                                 another hearing where the              quickly came to his senses,
                                                 tenant offered to withdraw the         clarified that the tenant was not
                                                 compensation claim if all the          in arrears, confirmed that the
                                                 repairs were carried out and           new lease had been signed by the
                                                 he were offered a new 6-month          landlord and officially withdrew
                                                 lease at the same rent.                the notice of termination.

                                                                    Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010   37
 Inner West                                The
                                                    Inner     West
                                                                                     not always, women) to enhance their
                                                                                     own safety plans through community-

 Domestic                                  Service (IWDVPASS) is auspiced
                                           by Marrickville Legal Centre and
                                                                                     based advocacy.

                                                                                     IWDVPASS is a conduit for referral
 Violence                                  funded initially from the 2008/2009
                                           NSW Domestic and Family Violence
                                                                                     pathways between NSW Police and
                                                                                     community and other government
 Proactive                                 Grants Program. It is a partnership
                                           between Marrickville Legal Centre,
                                                                                     services. The IWDVPASS Coordinator
                                                                                     has access to and contributes to the
 Support                                   Elsie Refuge and the NSW Police
                                           Local Area Commands of Leichhardt,
                                                                                     local network of domestic violence
                                                                                     services by:
 Service                                   Marrickville and Newtown. It also has
                                           strong links with Sydney Women’s          • Actively participating in the

 (IWDVPASS)                                Domestic Violence Court Advocacy
                                           Service and Wirringa Baiya Aboriginal
                                                                                     Leichhardt Marrickville Domestic
                                                                                     Violence Liaison Committee meetings
                                           Women’s Legal Service.                    on a monthly basis
                                                                                     • Participating in the Sydney
                                           The project is an information and
                                                                                     Women’s Domestic Violence Court
                                           referral service that provides support
                                                                                     Advocacy      Service  (SWDVCAS)
                                           to people impacted by domestic
                                                                                     Seconded      Worker   Roster     at
                                           violence as soon as possible after
                                                                                     Newtown and Balmain Local Courts
                                                                                     (approximately one morning per
                                                                                     month) where there is access to
                                                                                     seconded workers from other local
                                                                                     community service organisations
                                                                                     (women’s community health centre;
                                                                                     refuges; neighbourhood centre), etc,
                                                                                     and CALD and Aboriginal specialist
                                                                                     • Being co-located with NSW Police
                                                                                     Domestic Violence Liaison Officers
                                                                                     (DVLOs) at each LAC, spending one
                                                                                     day per week at each police station.
                                                                                     • Spending      one     day   each
                                                                                     week at Elsie Women’s Refuge
                                                                                     acquiring knowledge about refuge
                                                                                     accommodation, services offered
         S Nick Yetzotis (MLC Chairman), Frederica Mantel (MLC                       and obtaining invaluable collegiate
         Coordinator), Nassim Arrage (MLC Principal Solicitor), Linda Wall
         (MLC Finance Administrator) and Maria Elena Ang (MLC Information
                                                                                     support and access to team building
         and Referral Officer) at the IWDVPASS Launch and DV Networking              activities
                                                                                     • The fifth day each week is spent at
                                                                                     Marrickville Legal Centre where there
                                           an incident by providing seamless
                                                                                     is access to a General legal service,
                                           support and referrals to appropriate
                                                                                     Children’s legal service and the Inner
                                           services through partner agencies
                                                                                     West Tenant’s Advice and Advocacy
                                           working closely together. When
                                                                                     service, further expanding knowledge
                                           police attend a domestic violence
                                                                                     of operations of these services, what
                                           incident, they offer the victim follow-
                                                                                     they can offer women and improving
                                           up support and ask the victim to
                                                                                     referral pathways.
                                           give their consent by signing a
                                           yellow card. These yellow cards are
                                                                                     IWDVPASS Launch and DV
                                           then forwarded to the IWDVPASS
                                                                                     Networking Forum
                                           Coordinator, who then makes contact
                                           with the victim, ideally within 72hrs.    The Inner West DVPASS launch and
                                           The project works from a feminist         Networking forum was held on 4th
                                           understanding of the dynamics of          December 2009 at Marrickville Town
                                           domestic violence and trauma, and         Hall. The project was launched by the
                                           aims to support victims (mostly, but      Hon. Penny Sharpe who attended

38   Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010
on behalf of the local Member for
Marrickville, Minister for Health and
Deputy Premier, Carmel Tebbutt.
Superintendent Gavin Dengate (then
Commander Sutherland LAC, NSW
Police and Central Metro Region DV
Sponsor) also gave an address. The
event was very successful with good
attendance and a variety of stalls
provided by local services and panel
with local workers. Some examples of
feedback include:
• “Services that I was not aware
of, now I know about them...All my
expectations were met.”
• “Fantastic      opportunity   for
networking and promotion of own/
others services. Very valuable day
for our future connections around
responding to domestic violence.
Thanks for the opportunity.”
• “Thanks for organising the day. It      with same-sex relationships, but also      than the first time an attempt was
was a great initiative providing a good   with events between male and female        made to contact the client.
opportunity to mingle with other local    partners. Sometimes this was because
                                                                                     Time taken to receive yellow cards
services and increase knowledge of        police could not or did not identify
                                                                                     from DVLO’s has improved over the
agencies available for women in our       the victim in the event. In this event
                                                                                     year, and time taken to respond to
area.”                                    the female was always contacted first,
                                                                                     yellow cards has generally been within
                                          and the male client was referred back
• “I learnt more today about DV                                                      the stated 72hrs, however, this was
                                          to police.
services than at the DVLO course” –                                                  not achieved during February/March
DVLO about the IWDVPASS Launch            Contact was attempted for each             when the DVPASS Coordinator was
and DV Networking Forum held on           referral at least three times, and most    on annual leave.
4th December 2009                         were eventually contacted. Any that
                                          could not be contacted within 6 days
IWDVPASS Documentation                    were referred back to the DVLO for
of Activities                             a follow-up welfare check. A sample
                                          of lag time for three different months
Referrals                                 across the year is shown below:

Between October 2009 and May
2010 the IWDVPASS received 541            Time taken to follow up
yellow card referrals from across the     yellow cards
three LACs involved. The following         Month        Average       Average
table presents a break down of                          number        number
these referrals, and the percentage                     of days       of days to
of those that were not contacted.                       to receive    respond
Reasons for “no contact” include no                     yellow        to yellow
answer, voicemail, wrong number,                        cards from    cards
number disconnected, wrong person                       DVLO
answered, incomplete number, and           November     5.86          2.66
others.                                    2009
Sometimes two yellow cards would           February     4.7           5.18
be received for the one event. This        2010
could be identified through the same       May 2010     3.85          2.79
event number, address or phone
number being listed for the two           Data in the right column shows time
different people. This happened often     taken to make actual contact, rather

                                                                     Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010   39
                                                                                     more specific as the project went on.
                                                                                     The two tables on the previous page
                                                                                     show the data from October 2009 to
                                                                                     January 2010, and February 2010 to
                                                                                     May 2010. In the second table, the
                                                                                     data shows approximately 5 female
                                                                                     perpetrators. One of these cases
                                                                                     involved a same-sex relationship, and
                                                                                     two of the others involved two female
                                                                                     “perpetrators” who were known to be
                                                                                     in a relationship with a violent man.

                                                                                     The project sought to focus on the
                                                                                     needs of people who repeatedly
                                                                                     came into contact with police due to
                                                                                     domestic violence. The table below
                                                                                     shows the number of “repeat victims”
                                                                                     per month:

                                                                                      October       3
                                                                                      November      1
                                                                                      December      4
                                                                                      January       9
                                                                                      February      9
                                                                                      March         10
                                                                                      April         8
                                                                                      May           8

                                                                                     There appeared to be a low
                                                                                     representation of Aboriginal and
                                                                                     Torres Strait Islander people in the
                                                                                     referral numbers, although a large
                                                                                     number of people either did not
                                                                                     state whether they were Aboriginal
                                                                                     on the yellow card and/or could not
                                                                                     be contacted later, so there was no
                                                                                     opportunity to obtain this information.

                                                                                     It appears there was a more or less
                                                                                     even split between referrals with
                                                                                     children and referrals without,
                                                                                     however, a portion of referrals did
                                                                                     not state on the yellow card whether
                                                                                     there were children, and the client
                                                                                     could not be contacted. These
Limitations of data: no data has           men against women, most of the            referrals were returned to the police
been obtained on non-consent rates         yellow cards received were for female     for follow-up welfare check.
and compliance rates from police –         victims with a male perpetrator. There
                                                                                     “Other” CALD backgrounds are listed
mechanisms need to be put in place         was a proportion of male victims.
                                                                                     here due to space limitations in the
in the following months to obtain this     Some of these came through along
                                                                                     graph (each of these represented less
data for future evaluations.               with referrals for their female partner
                                                                                     than 1%): Bangladeshi, Burmese,
                                           and subsequently were not contacted
                                                                                     Cambodian, English, Fiji Indian, Fijian,
Breakdown of yellow card                   but referred back to the DVLO. There
                                                                                     French, Indian, Indonesian, Iraqi, Irish,
referrals October 2009 –                   was a small cohort of transgender
                                                                                     Italian, Japanese, Kenyan, Korean,
May 2010                                   referrals.
                                                                                     Lebanese, Macedonian, Malaysian,
In line with the evidence that most        Data collected on the perpetrator’s       Maori, Nepalese, New Zealand,
domestic violence is perpetrated by        relationship to the victim became         Polish,    Portuguese,     Romanian,

40   Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010
                Russian, Samoan, Slovenia, South
                African, Spanish, Swiss, Thai, Tongan,
                Ukrainian, Yugoslavian, Yuruguayan,

                The yellow cards have a field for
                recording whether an interpreter is
                required, and the DVPASS worker
                also asked clients if they considered
                themselves to be from a CALD
                background. The breakdown of client
                cultural background is shown below.
                Whenever a client requested on a
                yellow card, the Telephone Interpreter
                Service was used to contact them in
                their own language.

                Statistics on age of the clients and
                clients with disability were not readily
                available, but this information could
                be extracted from existing data.

                Sexual orientation of clients (see left)
                was primarily non-same sex and not

                Community Legal Education
                The first CLE was held on 4th November
                2009 and provided an opportunity
                for local community workers to learn
                about the new project and hear
                from workers from existing DVPASS
                projects. Around 14 local workers

Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010   41
            S Penny Sharpe, Superintendent Gavin Dengate, Amelia Pace (IWDVPASS Coordinator), Lee Taylor
            (Assistant Coordinator, SWDVCAS) and Frederica Mantel (MLC Coordinator) at the IWDVPASS
            Launch and DV Networking Forum

from various organisations attended. support with these events.               • Attendance at police briefing
Speakers were Jody Doualetas (NSW                                             Glebe Police Station (December
Police Region DV Coordinator), Other training and                             2009)
Jenny Ashwood (Sydney Women’s interagency activities                          • Training to approximately 15 new
Counselling, Campsie DVPASS), Di                                              general duties officers with Senior
                                       Training completed by the IWDVPASS
Mann (SFSS - DVPASS), and Amelia                                              Constable Holt at Annandale Police
Pace (IWDVPASS Coordinator).                                                  Station (February 2010)
                                       • Word        and   Excel   training
IWDVPASS attended a CLE at Sydney (November 2009)                             • Training to approximately 15
Secondary College in May 2010                                                 officers, including new DVLOs and
along with the other teams from • ECAV Core Domestic Violence                 sergeants, with Senior Constable Holt
Marrickville Legal Centre.             Training (Education Centre Against     and Hazell Cowen (Elsie Women’s
                                       Violence) NSW Health (March 2010)      Refuge) at Central City Police Station
This CLE was delivered to year 11                                             (April 2010)
                                       • Cross Cultural Domestic Violence
and 12 students from the college and
                                       (Immigrant     Women’s     Speakout    Interagency Activities
had a focus on how young people
                                       Association) (November 2009)
might encounter the legal system                                              • IWDVPASS Launch and DV
and also sought to provide a practical • Keep them Safe Information           Networking Forum, Marrickville, 4
insight of legal and social work to Session and Mandatory Reporter            December 2010
compliment the students studies.       Guide Session (Nov 2009 and May        • Monthly attendance at the
                                       2010)                                  Leichhardt/Marrickville   Domestic
A third CLE was held on 30 June
                                       • DV Mental Health Forum Casula        Violence Liaison Committee meeting
2010 and attended by approximately
                                       (8/10/09)                              • Participation in the Seconded
12 local community workers. This
session focused on challenges in • SWDVCAS Seconded worker                    Worker Court Support Roster for
using the law to respond to domestic training (5/10/09)                       Sydney Women’s Domestic Violence
violence, and appropriate responses • Training/information delivered by/      Court Advocacy Service (SWDVCAS)
to people experiencing domestic with IWDVPASS Coordinator                     • Attendance at NSW Domestic
violence.                                                                     Violence Coalition meetings
                                    • Attendance at police briefing
                                                                              • Attendance      at    Leichhardt
Feedback about each workshop was Newtown Police Station (December
                                                                              Women’s Community Health Centre
overwhelmingly positive. Thanks to 2009)
                                                                              Annual General Meeting 2009
Frederica Mantel (MLC Coordinator), • Attendance at police briefing
Nassim Arrage (MLC Principal Marrickville Police Station (December            •   Visit to Sutherland DVPASS
Solicitor) and guest speakers for their 2009)                                 •   Attendance GSFIT Family Law

42   Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010
and Domestic Violence Conference,        know how to contact them… The                the project will be funded for the next
Luna Park, early 2010                    women you’ve referred have spoken            five years, along with several other
• Attendance at launch of “No            very highly of IWDVPASS” – local             new and existing DVPASS projects.
Way to Live: Women’s experiences         family support service.                      This funding announcement was
of negotiating the family law system     “I don’t know what I would have done         made in conjunction with the release
in the context of domestic violence”,    without your service” – female victim        of the NSW Domestic and Family
research by Lesley Laing, Parliament     who subsequently escaped the violent         Violence Action Plan: “Stop the
House, June 2010                         partner.                                     Violence, End the Silence.”
                                         “The service was deadly, amazing…
Community Awareness-                     I felt really supported… the worker          Over the past year, the Inner West
Raising Activities                       seemed really knowledgeable” –               DVPASS has been set up and has
• White      Ribbon   Day       Stall,   Aboriginal female victim.                    started to provide another entry
Leichhardt, November 2009                                                             point to support for people impacted
                                         “Meitaki maata no te tauturu. It means
                                         thank u so much for ur help for what         by domestic violence. It continues
• Yabun Festival, Victoria Park, 26
January 2010                             I’ve been thru. Everything is all gud for    to develop strong partnerships
                                         me and my 3 kids. Got our own place          with other community services and
• National Remembrance Day
                                         nw we are moving in thank          agencies, both general and domestic
Quilt Unveiling, Parliament House, 6
                                         u so much.” - from a client, via text        violence specialist services. The
May 2010
                                         message.                                     project would not be possible without
• Wirringa    Baiya     Aboriginal                                                    the commitment and support of
                                         “Thank you, you are as good as your
Women’s Corroboree, 25 June 2010.
                                         word and I can’t help but to cry. I          Marrickville Legal Centre, especially
                                         cry cause you gave me sympathy and           Frederica Mantel, and NSW Police, in
Observed stakeholder                     great support and show me somebody           particular Jody Doualetas, Bernadette
feedback                                 care… thank you for restoring my             Fleeton and the DVLOs Matthew Holt,
The IWDVPASS regularly receives          hope that somebody cares.” - from an         Andrea Jones, Peter King, Steve Marsh
positive and constructive feedback       older woman, via text message.               and Shane Housego. The continued
from stakeholders, including clients,                                                 support and expertise of Lee Taylor
staff, partner agencies and the local    Looking to the future                        from SWDVCAS and Deborah Locke
community.                                                                            from Elsie Refuge and their staff has
                                         A report was written in June 2010
“Your referrals have brought our         outlining the achievements and               also been essential to the project. We
service to capacity and we now have      progress of the Inner West DVPASS            also appreciate the commitment and
a waiting list. We’ve always known       project so far in more detail. It followed   involvement of Rachael Martin from
that there were women out there who      the recent announcement from the             Wirringa Baiya.
needed this support, but we didn’t       NSW Office for Women’s Policy that

           X Anne Raw
           of Marrickville
           Family Support
           Service, Pia
           Riley of NSW
           Office for
           Women’s Policy,
           Katy Jenkins of
           MLC and Dash
           Gray of RPAH
           Sexual Health
           Service at the
           IWDVPASS CLE
           on 30 June 2010

                                                                    Marrickville Legal Centre Annual Report 2009 – 2010    43
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