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UWA student intern’s family violence report could ‘provide a catalyst for change’

3 October, 2019

The report that Ella Italiano-Schmidt researched and presented to the South West Community Legal Centre (SWCLC) during her McCusker Centre for Citizenship internship could “significantly” improve outcomes for people experiencing family violence.

The University of WA Juris Doctor student relocated from her home in Karrinyup to Bunbury for three and a half weeks to complete the 100-hour community service internship.

In her role, Ms Italiano-Schmidt (22) investigated the outcomes for people in the South West who were involved in the family violence restraining order (FVRO) process.

SWCLC Managing Principal Director and intern supervisor Eleanor Yates said Ms Italiano-Schmidt was a capable, dedicated and committed worker.

“We set Ella the task of researching legislation and procedures governing family violence restraining orders and, in particular, the intersection of family and restraining order law,” Ms Yates said.

“Ella researched legislation, observed court procedure and interviewed clients and agency representative.

“She then collated the results of her research and wrote an interesting and insightful 10-page report.”

Ms Italiano-Schmidt said the report and recommendations could “provide a catalyst for change” among people experiencing family violence.

“The findings from my report give many South West organisations (who support people experiencing family violence) a voice,” she said.

Ms Italiano-Schmidt said the internship helped her realise that individual citizens could make a significant social and cultural impact by contributing to organisations like SWCLC.

“Even in a small capacity such as the niche project I embarked on, any little contribution can be really helpful,” she said.

“If every citizen helped out a not-for profit organisation like the SWCLC, even if just for three weeks, imagine what could be achieved.”