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Mapping family law assistance in NSW across agencies

The NSW Legal Assistance Forum undertook the mapping family law service provision in NSW project as a result of anecdotal evidence that there was a gap in family law services, particularly in regional and rural areas. This perception largely arose from three factors:

  • Cooperative Legal Service Delivery regions reporting a lack of services for their clients with family law problems, particularly in the areas of assistance with forms and drafting affidavits.
  • The steady decline in the numbers of lawyers in RRR areas over the past years, especially lawyers willing to undertake legal aid work.
  • The introduction of Chamber Registrar Service Standards in late 2006.

In line with NLAF's aims, the mapping project focused on services for people who are socially and economically disadvantaged.

Family Law Assistance Table

In order to better understand the nature of the problem, NLAF asked the following questions:

  • Where are the gaps (if any) in family law service provision in NSW?
  • Is there a gap in assistance with completing family law forms?
  • Is there a gap in assistance with drafting of affidavits?

NLAF sought to answer these questions by mapping family law services currently provided by NLAF members. This is the first time that this has been done on a state-wide basis.

The Family law assistance across NSW agencies table (link) provides a snapshot view of where the gaps are in family law services. The table shows whether services are provided in the categories of:

  • Information
  • Advice
  • Assistance with forms
  • Family Dispute Resolution
  • Drafting affidavits
  • Representation

The table may also be used as a referral guide. For example, it contains links to information detailing each agency's guidelines, including a list of all NSW community legal centres and the types of family law services provided.

NLAF will use the table in its activities to work collaboratively to improve family law service delivery for people who are socially and economically disadvantaged.

NLAF will update the table as necessary. Please notify the NLAF Project Manager — nlaf@lawfoundation.net.au

— if you have any feedback about the content.

January 2009