Peel Community Legal Service on the front foot against domestic violence

Peel Legal Community Services will launch an online information tool on how to safely intervene when domestic violence occurs later this month. Photo: File image/Kaylee Meerton.
Peel Legal Community Services will launch an online information tool on how to safely intervene when domestic violence occurs later this month. Photo: File image/Kaylee Meerton.

Stopping domestic violence at the source is the heart of Peel Community Legal Services (PCLS) latest initiative, with the group set to launch an online tool to help combat the epidemic later this month.

The tool, presented as a fact sheet via peelcls.com.au, aims to inform people of how to safely intervene when witnessing an act of domestic violence.

"It's quite simple really. The tool is basically a guide of what you can do if you see family-related violence happening in the community," PCLS chief executive officer Kathy Johnson said.

"After carrying out research and speaking with local community groups we found that if people are witnessing an incident, they either don't know what constitutes domestic violence or they don't know how to intervene.

"This fact sheet is something that we hope helps people in those areas, and gives them an idea of how to help stop these sorts of things when they see it happening."

The initiative, largely driven by PCLS community and tenancy advocate Jackie Wallis, comes on the back of a broader push by the legal service to stamp out this particular kind of violence.

Since May 2019 the service has researched statistics, conducted a community survey and reached out to organisations like local women's refuge Pat Thomas House to ensure the information they provide to the community is accurate and helpful.

"We spoke to a lot of people who have either suffered or been impacted by domestic violence," Ms Johnson said.

"A lot of them didn't know what to do when they were going through it, so our aim is to give them and anyone who might experience domestic violence in the future a way to deal with it."

Peel Community Legal Service see the adverse effects of family-related violence on a daily basis.

Ms Johnson described it as an "underlying issue" among many of the service's clients.

"We deal with so many different legal matters, but one of the most common issues is we come across is that a lot of our clients are suffering from violence at home," she said.

"That's why it's so important for us to do something about it.

"We're a community service, and there's so much more we can do than just the legal side of things."

The Peel Community Legal Services' online fact sheet will be accessible on their website from Wednesday, January 22.

For more information call PCLS on 9581 4511.