Policy Focus

 
Wed, 30/06/2021 - 14:14
A recent report by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research concluded that there was no significant spike in domestic violence during COVID lockdowns. However, community legal centres say that crime data fails to capture the whole picture.
Wed, 10/02/2021 - 10:10
 Drug reform has emerged as one of the most vital, yet contentious, policy areas of our time. In this edition of The Law Reform Bulletin, we peel back the sensationalist headlines and listen to the diverse perspectives of experts in community law, restorative justice and harm-reduction. What emerges is an overwhelming view that while law enforcement is the government's primary response to drug use, we need to be pursuing evidence-based policies like decriminalisation. The health and safety of our communities depend on a future where holistic, caring and healing approaches to drug use are the norm.
Wed, 10/02/2021 - 09:54
 Fair Treatment is a public advocacy campaign led by Uniting NSW-ACT for the better resourcing of evidence-based harm reduction strategies, and the decriminalisation (removal of court processing and criminal penalties including jail terms) of personal use of small quantities of currently illicit drugs. In this article, Stafford Sanders proposes that we need to rethink our approach to drug policy and learn from worldwide best practice, such as the Portugal model of decriminalisation.
Wed, 10/02/2021 - 09:47
 In the last 12 years, there has been an almost twentyfold increase in strip searches in New South Wales. This harmful proactive policing practice is disproportionately targeting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and young people, particularly in lower socio-economic areas and regional towns. In this article, Sam Lee advocates for strip search laws to be amended alongside other proposed changes to minor drug possession laws.
Wed, 10/02/2021 - 09:20
In this article, Rhys Evans looks back to the harm-reduction practices developed during the HIV epidemic which continue to save many lives, and how these programs might inform a pathway for evidence-based drug policy.
Tue, 09/02/2021 - 17:23
 In this article, Stuart Munckton shares how people with lived experience of drug use in NSW are paving the way in developing and implementing effective harm reduction measures. When it comes to user's rights, ending the criminalisation of drug use would be the single biggest measure to reduce the harms associated with drug use.
Tue, 09/02/2021 - 17:11
 Living in remote, regional and rural areas can often mean being geographically isolated from vital drug support services. In this article, Patrick O'Callaghan shares how things are changing in Dubbo, and where's next for localised drug support and reform.
Tue, 09/02/2021 - 16:46
 In this article, Thea Deakin-Greenwood reflects on the links between substance use and complex trauma. Rather than continuing to punish drug use through criminalisation, which can exacerbate the ongoing impacts of trauma on peoples’ lives, restorative justice approaches can respond to harm and trauma through care.
Wed, 02/12/2020 - 11:01
 Early on in the COVID-19 health crisis, as the first cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Australia and its seriousness became clearer, we knew the pandemic would have an impact on everyone across our communities, but renting households would be particularly vulnerable. Many renters work in sectors that were immediately hard hit by the pandemic such as retail, hospitality, tourism, and the tertiary education sector. They are generally more likely to be in casual or otherwise precarious work situations. And their housing, not only unaffordable before the crisis, is also, always insecure.
Tue, 01/12/2020 - 09:48
The gambling industry in New South Wales, particularly the poker machine sector, is extremely influential. In this article, Kate Da Costa from the Alliance for Gambling Reform examines a proposed reform that will change the gambling exclusion system in the state. The reforms ensure that people, often those who are most profitable to venues, are better supported when they seek to stay away from poker machines.
Thu, 26/11/2020 - 12:07
The impact of COVID-19 – and the public health response to it – on communities and workplaces has been harsh. It is also becoming increasingly clear that the crisis is worsening class, racial and gender inequalities. These impacts including disproportionate job insecurity, significantly increased childcare responsibilities, unsafe working conditions, women are already bearing the brunt of the pandemic’s negative impacts and will continue to do so long into the future.
Wed, 12/08/2020 - 15:38
 Up to 70% of domestic violence victims-survivors report abuse of a companion or other animal by the perpetrator. Currently, laws in New South Wales (NSW) do not adequately protect human or animal victims-survivors of family violence. However, some NSW parliamentarians are in the mood for change. In this article the Animal Defenders Office considers options for reform to provide greater protection to those suffering abuse and domestic violence, both human and animal.
Mon, 15/06/2020 - 17:06
The economic effects of COVID-19 have already been devastating, but the worst may be yet to come as aftershocks ripple through the country in the coming months. This will likely be particularly devastating for people who need support from the social security system.
Thu, 30/04/2020 - 08:26
This article highlights some of the particular challenges the COVID-19 pandemic crisis presents for migrant workers, arguing that extending supports to these workers is not only key to ensuring they do not fall between the cracks but also to helping the nation’s economic recovery.