We're delighted to welcome a new member to the Community Legal Centres NSW family — International Social Service Australia (ISSA). Based in Sydney and Melbourne, ISSA provides social work, legal and mediation services to families and children across international borders. To learn more about the organisation, we asked their Managing Lawyer, Rebecca Chapman.
How would you sum up the organisation’s mission in one sentence?
To raise awareness about international parental child abduction (IPCA) and to provide advice and guidance to parents affected by IPCA.
What services does ISSA provide?
ISSA’s Legal Service operates a national advice line for people seeking legal advice regarding IPCA. We provide free legal advice to parents and organisations about preventing IPCA, the legal avenues available to secure contact with a child living overseas and the legal avenue to secure the return of children from overseas.
We provide free case work service to parents wishing to make a return or access application under the 1980 Hague Convention and we assist parents make applications using the Bilateral Agreements with Egypt and Lebanon. We prepare most of Australia’s outgoing applications under the 1980 Hague Convention.
We also have a new Family Law Service which can assist individuals with some types of family law matters at a reduced fee. Our IPCA clients can make use of this service where appropriate and we also accept referrals for family law matters without an IPCA element.
It is worth noting that ISSA’s Legal Service is part of our broader organisation, ISSA. ISS Australia as a whole provides professional social work and legal services to family and children separated across international borders. Our social work services do work such as supporting parents affected by IPCA, international kinship care assessments, international family law mediation and various family tracing services.
Who are your clients?
We are funded to assist all individuals affected by IPCA and the service is offered nationally.
Who’s on the team?
ISSA’s Legal Service has 5 staff. Rebecca Chapman (Managing Lawyer) and Ben Hughes (Lawyer) work out of our NSW Office and Jenny Tam (Senior Lawyer) and Christina Scibilia (Lawyer) work out of our Victorian Office. We are also supported by a part time paralegal, Emily Biggs, who works out of our Victorian Office. From time to time we also have volunteer legal assistants who assist us. At the moment we have once volunteer in both the NSW and VIC Offices.
Contact details (NSW office)