Calls to Queensland’s only statewide specialised domestic violence legal helpline will continue to be answered over the coming months with Hand Heart Pocket stepping in with a generous donation to Women’s Legal Service Queensland (WLSQ).
The $120,000 donation, ensures that WLSQ can continue to run its helpline services for the next few months until longer-term government funding can be secured.
The donation will allow WLSQ to continue providing essential DV legal advice services to women in urban, regional and remote areas across the state.
The funds will also enable WLSQ to conduct community training in Emerald and Rockhampton and refresh its website to make information more easily accessible to those needing help.
WLSQ CEO, Angela Lynch, said the funds had come at a crucial time for the organisation.
“We are immensely grateful to Hand Heart Pocket for stepping in and providing critical assistance while we look to secure additional long-term Government funding for this essential service,” she said.
“Women’s Legal Service provides free legal and welfare support to Queensland women and their children affected by domestic violence and, without ongoing funding, 13,000 calls for help per year would go unanswered.”
Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said his organisation was proud to support this vital service that had already helped more than 100,000 women and children affected by domestic violence in Queensland.
“Hand Heat Pocket believes in providing sustainable support by giving a hand up – not a handout – to communities, other charities and individuals,” Mr Mark said.
“We look to fund initiatives that have real, life-changing potential to those most vulnerable in our community and are proud to partner with WLSQ to help affect change on this issue.”
“With domestic violence rates at an all-time high, it is more important than ever that the organisations providing frontline support can continue to keep up with the demand.”
Former Governor-General The Honourable Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO, a leader in domestic violence prevention, attended the funding announcement to raise awareness of the need for more support networks for victims.
“Domestic violence is not isolated to South-East Queensland – women and children across the State deserve the right to be supported in the most difficult of circumstances,” Ms Bryce said.
“There’s no denying that this is a complex issue but, if we are to make a tangible difference for Queenslanders, we must support organisations such as the Women’s Legal Service that provide vital legal information and assistance to thousands of women and children each year.”
Hana Nataprawira, a former client of WLSQ, said without the support of this service, it would have been hard to put a stop to the abuse she experienced.
“Free services like this are crucial for women of all ages as it helps them to break free from the cycle they may find themselves in and to change their life for the better,” she said.
“I am so fortunate to have had the support of Women’s Legal Service and can’t begin to imagine the gap that will be left if the service is cut long-term.”
This gift of interim funding is one of several large donations Hand Heart Pocket has announced in a matter of weeks, reflecting the increasing focus that Freemasons in Queensland are placing on their charity work.
Photo: (From left) Amanda Stein (Women’s Legal Service Ambassador), Marisa Vecchio AM (Women’s Legal Service Ambassador), Gary Mark (CEO, Hand Heart Pocket), The Hon. Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO, Angela Lynch (CEO, Women’s Legal Service Queensland), John Aronis (Board Member, Hand Heart Pocket), The Hon Margaret McMurdo AC (Women’s Legal Service Patron) and Thomas Christensen (Hand Heart Pocket Champion).