Domestic, Family & Sexual Violence
Top End Women’s Legal Service (TEWLS)
TEWLS provides free civil and family law services, including legal information and referral, advice, casework and representation services, community legal education, and advocacy to women in the Top End.
TEWLS is able to provide free legal advice and legal information and referral services to all women and people identifying as women in the Greater Darwin region. Women wishing to access our services are able to seek free legal help in person at the TEWLS office or at our various clinic locations, as well as over the phone.
How we can help
TEWLS provides holistic and culturally appropriate legal and related non-legal services.
For more information about how TEWLS can help you, please see How We Can Help.
Legal advice and representation
TEWLS is able to provide free legal advice to all women and people identifying as women in the Greater Darwin region, including legal information and referral services. TEWLS also provides casework and representation services on a case-by-case basis.
For more information about TEWLS’ provision of legal advice and representation services, please see Legal Advice & Representation.
Areas of Law
TEWLS provides legal services in most areas of civil and family law, including:
- Family Law, including separation, parenting, property and divorce
- Domestic and Family Violence
- Tenancy and Housing
- Compensation, including victims of crime compensation
- Superannuation and Estates
- Employment Law
For more information about the areas of law that we are able to assist with, please see Areas of Law.
Where can I meet with TEWLS?
TEWLS provides legal services in-house at our Darwin office, as well as at various outreach and clinic locations.
For more information about where you can meet with TEWLS, please see Clinic Locations.
Community Legal Education
TEWLS has a strong commitment to community legal education – we believe that by empowering women with knowledge and information about the legal system, women and the community at large will be able to better access the legal system.
For more information about TEWLS’ Community Legal Education programs and how you can contact TEWLS to discuss legal education workshops and/or campaigns, please see Community Legal Education.
Not in the Northern Territory?
If you are in a state or territory other than the Northern Territory, or need a different community legal centre, please see the National Association of Community Legal Centres website for information about a community legal centre, including women’s legal service, in your local area.
WoSSCA – Court Support Service
Going to court can be hard and stressful. If you are a woman who has experienced domestic, family or sexual violence, our Court Support Case Worker can help you with this, so you don’t have to go through it on your own.
The Court Support Case Worker may be able to support you in any of these situations:
- understanding the court processes
- getting some legal advice
- going to legal appointments with you for support
- helping if you’re involved in a criminal law case
- helping if you’ve been asked to give evidence in court about an incidence of violence that you witnessed
- if you want someone to go with you to court for support
- if you need to get a Domestic Violence Order (DVO)
The Court Support Case Worker is not a lawyer. They understand the court and legal systems and will help you with your situation.
WoSSCA – Partner Support for Men’s Behaviour Change Program
As part of their Marra’ka Mbarintja Family Violence Prevention Program Tangentyere Council runs the Men’s Behavioural Change Program (MBCP). These programs exist to support women and children to be safe. Men who use violence (including being controlling) and abuse in their intimate and family relationships, attend weekly sessions to talk about violence, and how they can make change.
A condition of the MBCP is that one of our Women’s Safety Support Workers contacts you, if your partner or ex-partner is going to be on the program. This is to make sure you get support and information, while he is going through the program.
We offer partner support to you because we recognise that domestic, family and sexual violence is more commonly experienced by women, because of male behaviours that are about power and control.
A lot of men believe women are not equal, that women are less important and that violence towards them is ok.
We are here to support women and to advocate for men’s behavioural change.
No women are referred to us through the MBCP from Tangentyere.
WoSSCA – Shelter and Crisis Support
At Women’s Safety Services of Central Australia, we provide support and immediate shelter, for you and your children/grandchildren, with an average stay for most women of a few days, to a few weeks. Our shelter is high security, with 30 beds and we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Along with case management, risk assessment, safety planning and emergency relief, we can also refer you to other services in town (such as our counselling appointments) to get the support you need.
Our focus is to provide a space for you, where you can feel safe and supported, while you decide what to do next. When you come to us we respect your privacy – what you tell us remains confidential.
Safety Planning and Risk Assessment
One of the most important things we will do together is ‘risk assessment’ and ‘safety planning’. Our staff are trained to help you work out what the biggest risks may be for you, and to support you to make a safety plan that focusses on your needs and your situation and that keeps you safe. We will give you information that can help you understand some of the risk factors that can increase your chance of being harmed, and work with you to help reduce those risks.
As well as understanding the risks, we help you do a safety plan. This might include talking about who the safe people in your life are, arranging a domestic violence order, letting the police know about your situation, or relocating you to a different house, town or community if necessary.
Supporting Your Children
Children are often unintentional victims of domestic and family violence. We want them to feel safe and supported too when they come to the shelter with you. We can also refer them on to other services if they need more help.
All of our staff work to create a positive atmosphere that supports children and focuses on their individual needs. Stability during times of crisis is really important for children, so we try to maintain routines, support you to make sure they can keep going to school and provide a happy and healthy environment for them to learn, play and feel safe. We have facilities set up for children of all ages, including a new playground and activity space. We also have a family room equipped with games, movies, paints, crafts and books.
WoSSCA – Urban & Remote Outreach Program
Our Urban and Remote Outreach Team can help you if you live in Alice Springs or the communities of Yuendumu, Papunya, Ntaria/Hermannsburg & Ti Tree . They can come to you, or you can come and talk to them at the Outreach office.
The Outreach Program can help you if you are:
- A woman who was staying at the shelter but has gone home and would still like support.
- A woman who has not been staying at the shelter but would like to talk with someone.
- A woman who feels unsafe.
We can have a cup of tea and talk together, or support you through life changes as they are happening. At different times during difficult relationships, the support you need might be different. We will develop a safety plan with you with the goals you would like to achieve to keep yourself safe.
The Outreach Program was started a long time ago and over the past decade, as more funding became available, it became two teams. The Urban Outreach Team supports you if you live in Alice Springs and the Remote Outreach Team supports you if you live in remote communities in Central Australia and the tri-state area of Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland.
Both the Urban and Remote Teams work closely with other services in Alice Springs, to provide a strong support network to women experiencing domestic, family and sexual violence. The Outreach Program believes in early intervention – working with women and their children.
The Outreach Team has a private office in the centre of Alice Springs where women are welcome to drop in any time between 9am and 4pm weekdays. If you live in Alice Springs, but can’t visit our Outreach office, let us know and someone from the Urban Outreach Team can come to visit you.
If you are a local service provider or health worker, you can also complete this referral form to make sure women get the support they need.
The Outreach Program is free for all women and their children, who are experiencing domestic, family or sexual violence. If you need help or support call us on (08) 8953 7648.
Wurli-Wurlinjang Health Service – Community Services
Wurli-Wurlinjang Health Service’s aim is to relieve poverty, sickness, destitution, distress, suffering, misfortune and helplessness of the Aboriginal people of the Katherine Region.
Yuendumu Women’s Centre Aboriginal Corporation (YWCAC)
Yuendumu Women’s Centre (YWCAC) is a meeting place, a resource centre and provider of advocacy services for the women of Yuendumu and their families.
YWCAC manage the Yuendumu Women’s Safe House.
YWCA Australia – Domestic & Family Violence Centre
The Domestic and Family Violence Program consist of The Domestic and Family Violence Centre, the Keeping Women Safe in Their Homes Program and individual counselling for women who have experienced domestic and family violence.
The Domestic and Family Violence Centre helps those who are fleeing domestic and family violence, by providing:
- crisis accommodation
- safety planning
- individualised plans
YWCA Australia – Keeping Women Safe in Their Homes
The Keeping Women Safe in their Homes program provides risk assessments, safety planning and security upgrades for women and their children to help them stay in their own homes, or a home of their choice, provided it’s safe to do so.
YWCA Australia – Women of Worth Program
After being involved in the justice system, women may need support to positively integrate and re-engage with the community. The Women of Worth program works with these women, helping to make any lifestyle changes and reduce the risk of re-offending.
The program works alongside these women, and provides:
- Pre and post-release support
- Support to develop employable skills
- Social and emotional wellbeing programs
- Monthly outreach groups
- Support reconnecting with children and families
- Crisis accommodation
- Domestic violence support
- Education and employment pathways