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Friday, August 12, 2022

Majority of Australians Are Unaware of Family Lawyer Services in the Community

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Unfortunately, many Australians do not seek legal help in family matters, especially when assistance is always there.

According to a survey conducted by Relationships Australia, most Australians are unaware of family law services in their community.

While more than half (54 percent) of respondents were aware that legal advice was available for free or at low cost through community organisations like Relationships Australia, less than one quarter (24 percent) knew about the availability of family dispute resolution or community-based counselling services.

“This is significant because the majority of people who are experiencing family law problems either don’t know that help from a family lawyer Perth is available, can’t find it or are not accessing support due to costs,” said Amanda Alford, Relationship Australia’s National Spokesperson for Family Law Services. “It’s also very concerning that only one in four people are aware of the counselling services available to them.”

Relationships Australia conducted an online survey of 1,019 Australians in June 2012 which revealed that while women were more likely than men to be seeking legal help (33 percent compared with 20 percent), men were twice as likely to know about community-based family lawyer Perth services (32 percent compared with 16 percent).

“Despite Australia having a national system for family dispute resolution, known as the ‘Family Court of Australia’, only one in five people who are experiencing family law problems are aware that free counselling or mediation is available to them,” Ms Alford said. “This is alarming because it can be difficult to get professional legal help, particularly for people who are experiencing family problems and don’t have the financial resources to seek out their legal advice.”

“It’s really important that people know that free counselling services are available in all states and territories through community organisations like Relationships Australia,” Ms Alford said. “Relationships Australia Family Law Services can provide advice and referrals to legal services and facilitate counselling or mediation sessions if necessary.”

Moreover, those surveyed said they would be likely to use free or low-cost counselling community legal and dispute resolution services if they were aware of their availability.

“The main thing stopping people from seeking help is the belief that they can’t afford it,” Ms Alford said. “While we do need changes to our court system, we also need a better way of informing the community of the services that are available to them.”

The survey also revealed that most Australians (88 percent) would support a free counselling service for those affected by family court issues.

“It’s positive to see such strong support from Australian’s, and I do think we will eventually get formalised support systems in place,” Ms Alford said. “If we want to bring down the number of people affected by family court issues, then we need to get better at informing the public about the help available to them.”

In the end, Ms Alford said: “If we want to stop Australia’s family law issues from escalating and prevent the long-term effects on children and families, we need targeted support in place.

“We know that separating can be a very difficult time for everyone involved, but when there is no support available, it can be even more traumatic,” Ms Alford added. “If we can provide information about where people can get a free cup of coffee and a muffin, why not offer help with family law issues?”

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