WOMEN’S Legal Service Queensland (WLSQ) has opened a new office in Tower Central in Brisbane St.
This represents a big step for WLSQ, although it’s no stranger to Ipswich.
Running joint clinics in the city with Domestic Violence Action Centre demonstrated to the service that there was demand. Chief executive Nadia Bromley said, “We found legal need we didn’t know existed.”
Now the service has an Ipswich office, its plan is to create an evidence base that it can present to the state in the search for funding. Ms Bromley said that the evidence was necessary to be able to demonstrate the need for services that WLSQ can provide.
In the meantime, community support is key for the service. Donations and philanthropy help keep it running and it finds that working closely with the community helps it provide its service. Moving into Ipswich will allow it to be in place. It provides a range of services, including a call line, but legal advice given in person can be more effective, and often the women the service primarily helps feel they have nowhere to turn. Engaging with the court system can be challenging, particularly for women who are in crisis, some of whom may not speak English as a first language.
Now, the women of not just Ipswich will have a place they can turn for legal advice, particularly in domestic and family violence matters. The service also plans to run outreach into rural areas. It is interested in reaching women who live in peri-urban areas, who are often missed out by state-provided services because they live near to urban areas but not near enough for those services to be readily accessible.
Ms Bromley pointed out WSLQ’s clients were “women who have experienced terrible things and have lost their feeling of safety. And we can use the law as a really effective tool to empower them to take that back.”
Kelly Moore, WLSQ director of corporate services, said: “We are excited to extend our services to the Ipswich community. Our team is dedicated to providing free legal advice, representation, and support to women in need.”
WSLQ is looking for three more lawyers for its Ipswich office. Ms Bromley said that the reward for her work came from knowing that you’re making a real difference.