Individuals experiencing family violence require effective support and legal services to address those issues. A support plan is an elaborate and effective framework to help family violence victims get aid and legal counsel. With the help of a Plan of Support, the 18-year-old son, who is filing for an order of protection from his abusive stepfather, can make informed decisions about how to secure his safety best. The plan details a client’s steps to secure a Restraining Order in Joondalup, Perth, Western Australia (WA), and calls attention to any applicable support resources. A magistrate’s court is effective in dealing with family violence issues. The report outlines the court location and role, a legal process summary, available support services, preparation as a witness in court, and the ethical issues relevant to the case.
Court Location and Role
The local court relevant to address this case is the Joondalup Magistrates Courthouse. The court is located in Joondalup, Perth Metropolitan, Western Australia. The court’s address is 21 Reid Promenade, Joondalup, WA 6027, Australia. Cases involving domestic abuse, among other legal matters, are heard by the Joondalup Magistrates Court (i.e., it provides family violence services during the weekdays from Monday to Friday). The court’s trained employees can aid in assessing risk and safety concerns; providing information about pending court matters; assisting with preparation for court; and providing support during court proceedings.
This court hears and decides domestic violence, restraining orders, and similar matters. Protective orders for victims of domestic abuse are issued by the court, which plays an important role in treating the issue. It is a place where victims of domestic abuse may go to get the help they need, and it helps keep everyone safe. Regarding domestic abuse cases, the court’s top priority is protecting victims without compromising justice or the rule of law. It also serves as a forum for mediation and arbitration. People experiencing domestic violence can get help and referrals from the Joondalup Magistrates Court, which works with several support groups and organizations.
Legal process summary
The first step entails safety planning. The client’s safety and well-being must be carefully planned before, during, and after the legal proceedings (Jeffries et al., 2013, p.629 f). The client and the community service worker should collaborate to create a safety plan that specifies measures to ensure their safety, such as locating secure areas and notifying trusted people in an emergency. The second step is to seek legal counsel from a lawyer or an attorney. In the legal procedure, the legal professional will explain the client’s rights and possible next steps.
The third step is to apply for a Family Violence Restraining Order. This entails:
- Completing an application form – The application form should be obtained from the Magistrates courthouse or relevant WA legal website and filled out entirely by the client.
- Providing an affidavit – The client should document an affidavit reflecting their experience with domestic violence, providing concrete details like specific locality of the incidence, dates, and time.
- Submitting support documents – The client and the social service worker should compile concrete evidence through medical reports, witness accounts, or police statements to bolster the application.
- Lodging the application – This entails submitting the completed application to the Joondalup Magistrates Courthouse (Magistrates Court of Western Australia, 2023).
The fourth step is offering an Interim Order. After assessing the application, the court may decide whether or not to issue an interim order (a temporary measure of protection) based on the situation’s urgency. The fifth step is a court hearing. Here, the client and the service worker collaborate in preparation for the hearing by organizing evidence and testimonies. The service worker should also prepare for necessary court accompaniment, representation, and case presentation for the client. Lastly, this process culminates in a final order, which the court issues after it has reviewed all of the evidence and testimony provided during the hearing (Taylor et al., 2015, p.31). If the restraining order is approved, it will specify the restrictions and requirements the stepfather must follow.
Support services are integral in helping family violence victims recover from their harsh experiences. As a social worker supporting an 18-year-old young adult who suffered family violence, it is vital to help the victim access legal aid, mental health support, safety needs, and counselling services. In Joondalup, numerous services exist to help residents inside and outside the legal system. The support services include:
- Legal support
- Community Legal Centre: One of the most beneficial agencies is the Northern Suburbs Community Legal Centre. The organization offers client-centred services, including domestic violence, legal, elder abuse, housing, financial support, and partnerships (NSCLC, n.d.). The agency also provides community and professional legal education to help address social issues.
- Legal Aid Western Australia: Legal Aid WA has been established as a vital support agency, operating as WA’s largest legal aid services provider. The agency helps West Australians access legal support and resources. Some of its services include advice and assistance, grant of aid representation, children’s court VROs, family advocacy and dispute resolution, and Blurred Borders. The domestic violence legal unit offers duty lawyer services at Joondalup Magistrates Court, FVRO assistance, and case filing services. Their services are accessible online, in person, at court, by phone, and in the community. Its Infoline is 1300 650 579, and the Legal Yarn is 1800 319 803 (Legal Aid WA, n.d.).
- Counselling support
- Headspace Joondalup: headspace is an organization that helps young people (12-25) with their mental health by providing them with resources and guidance. They can provide the son with resources to help him deal with the effects of family violence and help him get the mental health care he needs.
- Centrecare Youth Support Services: The program provides free community support, linkages, and counselling to adolescents aged 12-18 (Centrecare, n.d.). Beneficiaries of the program are residents of the Joondalup region in Perth. Since the client is within the age bracket, it may be helpful for him to address the issue. CYSS workers provide the services at a client’s convenient location.
- Emergency support
- Crisis Care Helpline: The Department of Communities in Joondalup provides emergency accommodation services for family violence victims. If the son requires immediate accommodation, they can assist him with guidance, recommendations, and contacts at emergency housing facilities.
- Anglicare WA: Anglicare WA is a prominent charity that provides aid to those in need. It works to strengthen bonds within families and communities. It offers advocacy and counselling services to people experiencing domestic violence, homelessness, grieving, mental health, or any other crisis. Generally, it provides 90 different support services across Western Australia.
Upon receipt of a subpoena to submit my file notes and attend the court session as a witness in the case, I will make the necessary arrangements. My preparations include:
- Reviewing and documenting the client’s case. I would double-check my case notes for the adult son to ensure they are complete, well-organized, and reflect the most recent information. I would write down every incident, observation, and discussion to give an exact account of what happened.
- Seek legal advice from professionals. To better comprehend the legal issues of the case and the precise information I would need to submit as a witness, I would consult with legal professionals like attorneys or solicitors. I can get answers to my inquiries and better understand my responsibilities with their assistance.
- Familiarizing with Court procedures: Before testifying in court, I would study the rules, regulations, and processes involved. To do so, one must be familiar with the court system, its procedures, and the norms and protocols associated with providing testimony, among other things (Braun et al., 2016, p.2).
- Engage in mock questioning sessions. To prepare for the pressures of trial, I would practice answering hypothetical questions with friends or lawyers. Because of this, I would feel more at ease responding to queries and presenting my evidence.
Ethical issues and worker response
The ethical issues relevant to the case include:
Privacy & Confidentiality
Community service workers need to respect their client’s right to privacy. Sharing information about the adult son without his agreement or making incorrect disclosures during legal processes could be considered unethical (Donovan & Regehr, 2010, p.178). In response, I would protect the son’s privacy by not exposing any information without his permission and sharing only the relevant information ordered by the court.
Impartiality and objectivity
If my prejudices or opinions colour my relationships with others or my testimony in court, it could be an ethical problem. To solve this problem, I would take a neutral stance on the issue. I would act and testify based on hard evidence, not speculation, and give an unbiased account of the events.
The support plan comprehensively provides detailed information regarding the location of the court and its role in determining the son’s case. The young adult will get support and legal advice on approaching the issue by seeking the specified support services. Preparation is vital before submitting file notes and attending a court session as a witness in a case. Lastly, social service workers must maintain confidentiality and impartiality when taking a legal course in a court case. The plan will help the 18-year-old effectively deal with the family violence issue.
Braun, V. L., Merica, J. A., Wilkinson, M. M., & Woody, J. P. (2016). THE ETHICS OF PREPARING A WITNESS. Mcginnis law. Pp. 1-11. https://www.mcginnislaw.com/assets/htmldocuments/Ethicsof_Preparing_a_Witness.pdf
Centrecare. (n.d.). Centrecare youth support service (CYSS). https://www.centrecare.com.au/metro-services/youth-and-family-support-services-metropolitan/centrecare-youth-support-service-cyss
Donovan, K., & Regehr, C. (2010). Elder abuse: Clinical, ethical, and legal considerations in social work practice. Clinical Social Work Journal, 38(2), 174-182.
Jeffries, S., Bond, C. E., & Field, R. (2013). Australian domestic violence protection order legislation: A comparative quantitative content analysis of victim safety provisions. Current Issues in Criminal Justice, 25(2), 627-643. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/10345329.2013.12035987
Legal Aid WA. (n.d.). What we do. https://www.legalaid.wa.gov.au/about-us/what-we-do
Magistrates Court of Western Australia. (2023). Restraining orders. https://www.magistratescourt.wa.gov.au/r/restraining_orders.aspx
NSCLC. (n.d.). Welcome to Northern Suburbs Community Legal Centre: Mirrabooka | Wanneroo | Joondalup | Yanchep. NSC Legal Inc. https://nsclegal.org.au/
Taylor, A., Ibrahim, N., Wakefield, S., & Finn, K. (2015). Domestic and family violence protection orders in Australia: An investigation of information sharing and enforcement. https://anrows.intersearch.com.au/anrowsjspui/bitstream/1/18650/1/16_4_1-Legal-WEB_FINAL_0-1.pdf