Legal service can't keep up with pleas for help from women

A STATE-WIDE legal service is struggling to meet the sky-rocketing calls for help from domestic violence victims.

Queensland's Women's Legal Service said on Friday it could not meet the pleas for help of up to 2000 callers a month.

Reflecting on the Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence report delivered to the State Government on February 28, WLS coordinator Rosslyn Monro said the 140 recommendations in the Not Now, Not Ever report would save lives.

Ms Monro said 90% of WLS clients were domestic violence victims.

"Demand  for assistance has skyrocketed in recent years and our phone stats alone show that we are now receiving more than 200 extra requests for assistance each month that we cannot meet," Ms Monro said.

She said the taskforce's recommendations that specialist domestic violence courts be set up and improving how the courts responded to victims were vital.

"The most significant part is that in most domestic violence related legal matters many women are unrepresented when facing the perpetrator, so if there is more widely available legal assistance ... we expect more women would be  willing to use legal processes to obtain safety."

Taskforce members included police, legal, welfare and domestic violence representatives spent five months travelling around the state listening to victims relive their trauma.

The report's recommendations include setting up a specific domestic and family violence court over-seen by magistrates specialising in that area off the law, a state-wide prevention strategy, tougher sentencing options and a new charge of non-lethal strangulation.

Ms Bryce said she was shocked by some of the stories from survivors.

"They (the statistics) are shocking, but do not do full justice to the trauma we have heard about from survivors," she said.

"Stories of women brutalised, raped, beaten, controlled, isolated."

Domestic violence support groups and experts believe 17 women have died at the hands of their current or ex-partners since January.

Last year 50 women were killed.

One in three Australian women and adolescent girls are victims of family assaults. 

If you or someone you know is impacted by domestic or family violence or sexual assault, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit In an emergency, call 000

Topics:  domestic violence editors picks terrorathome

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