9 February 2006

Chief Justice Diana Bryant, today, presented certificates to 17 bi-lingual workers from a range of community and government agencies in Sydney recognising their completion of a Family Court of Australia Living in Harmony Program.

The training program aims to equip bi-lingual workers with the knowledge to assist new and emerging communities from various backgrounds to better understand Australian Law as it relates to families.

The bi-cultural workers, who work first hand with new and emerging communities, have participated in a series of meetings to more effectively advise communities and individuals of the most appropriate services and when to use them. 

The communities involved in the pilot program are from the Afghani, Iraqi, Sudanese, Somalian, Ethopian, and Eritrean communities.

'In Sydney and elsewhere in Australia, these communities stated that there was a need for them to become better informed about the law generally, about family law in particular, and about other services that impacted on their relationships with their children,' Chief Justice Bryant said. 

She said there had been understandable confusion in some communities because the law in Australia is quite different to that of their home countries

'This is also an opportunity to inform those institutions who implement the law that there is value in better informing key agencies about the experiences and expectations of these communities,' said Chief Justice Bryant. 

The Court was pleased to have the opportunity to work collaboratively with the NSW Police, the Department of Community Services, Legal Aid and the Baulkham Hills, Holroyd, Parramatta Migrant Resource Centre, and most importantly, the bi-lingual workers themselves. 

'They have brought to this work an impressive range of experiences.  With their assistance, information about family law will be more understandable and culturally appropriate for our diverse client groups.'