How The NSW Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service (WDVCAS) Plays A Role In Helping Victim-Survivors

"The better the WDVCAS and police work together – the better the outcomes for victim-survivors."

In partnership with Domestic Violence NSW

It’s zero eight hundred hours on the frontlines of domestic violence and we are on the coastal shores of Belmont Bay visiting the local Belmont police station. Today we’re following frontline worker Immogen, from the Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service (WDVCAS) who, due to a recent co-location pilot, is working alongside police to support victim-survivors. 

Immogen is bustling with energy as she shows us around the station and explains her role within it. Her official title is Safety Action Meeting Coordinator and Co-Location Worker – which means she works directly in the local police station, helping people experiencing domestic and family violence who present to police for support and advice. Bright and personable, Immogen provides immediate comfort and warmth – an invaluable support for victim-survivors who may be anxious or fearful when reaching out to police.   

The Co-location Pilot with WDVCAS and the NSW Police Force launched in 2022 at five sites across NSW. It was so successful that in 2023 the pilot was expanded to five more locations. This success is a result of increased collaboration between the WDVCAS, who advocate for victim-survivors throughout legal proceedings, and police, who enforce the law to ensure victim-survivors are supported and offenders are held accountable. Basically, the better the WDVCAS and police work together – the better the outcomes for victim-survivors. 

Immogen explains “our most valuable partners are the police, we couldn’t do the work that we do, without them.” Thanks to the co-location pilot, victim-survivors are able to access police and WDVCAS support at the same time. Immogen can provide information on legal processes, such as ADVOs and criminal charges, as well as refer for legal advice, while also providing police with feedback centred on victim-survivor experience. “We rely on the strong relationships with [police] to get positive outcomes to the women that we support,” says Immogen.   

In their 2024-25 pre-budget submission, Domestic Violence NSW (DVNSW) called for the NSW Government to continue funding the co-location pilots and expand them to all police stations across NSW. The specialist support Immogen and her WDVCAS colleagues provide will be particularly important when new laws that make coercive control a criminal offence in NSW comes into effect from 1st July 2024. 

“The biggest lesson this work has taught me is that domestic violence is not as straightforward as it may seem. It can take many forms and it’s my role to understand the significance of each and to support women to the best of my ability.”  

Immogen is the 8th frontline worker DVNSW has featured this May as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The 24 Hours on the Frontlines campaign, run by DVNSW uses a series of videos to showcase the pervasiveness of domestic violence in the community and the strength of the sector working tirelessly to stop it.  

If you want to join the fight against domestic violence, sign and share DVNSW’s national pledge.

Check out the rest of the campaign on Domestic Violence NSW’s Instagram, Facebook or TikTok.