LawRight News, 15 September 2022

Real estate agents and domestic violence

The disturbing interplay between domestic violence and insecure accommodation is addressed by many LawRight services, as we bridge the gap between laws and lived experience. Despite legislated protections for tenants impacted by violence, neither tenants nor their real estate agents can easily navigate these complex scenarios. Community lawyers are needed to ensure a just and appropriate outcome.    

Jess lived in rooming accommodation with her abusive partner. When she confronted him about withdrawing money from her account he became violent, damaging the property and kicking down the door so it couldn’t be locked. Jess called the police, who made a police protection notice on the spot to protect Jess from further violence.

However, a week later, the real estate agent evicted her on the basis of ‘disturbing the peace’ and damage, required her to vacate in a fortnight, left her with a large repair bill and took her bond. All of these actions, even where lawful, miss the legislative intent. Jess tried to self-advocate and provided the agent with a copy of the protection order, but she was ignored and her experience of violence was minimised. On top of everything, the agent (black)listed Jess on a tenancy database, restricting her access to alternative accommodation. She moved in with her parents.

When Jess had a premature birth months later, the Mater hospital social workers were concerned about her housing stress and connected her to our on-site Health Justice Partnership. LawRight successfully advocated to withdraw the blacklist. We connected Jess to DV legal assistance to vary the protection order to include her child and are now addressing a number of debts and payday loans that Jess accumulated when leaving the relationship.

The social worker told us: “…access to onsite legal support has directly supported the best healthcare outcomes and a safe discharge from hospital for this vulnerable family. Great work and a great outcome”.

Bid by phone at Red Wine for Justice

If you are unable to attend Red Wine for Justice on Friday, 14 October, you can still help LawRight raise funds and emerge with a wine to prize. You can nominate a friend as your bidding agent – just let us know before the event who your agent is, and we will provide more details and ensure you receive the catalogues for the main and silent auctions on the night. Contact us at

There are still a few tickets still left if you want to register to attend. Book here:

September law reform

Decriminalising begging, public intoxication and urination offences

Our Community and Health Justice Partnerships recently made submissions about these offences with the assistance of our member firms. We noted how public spaces offences increase and exacerbate homelessness, rather than resolve it. We also traced the impact of charges for these offences on training and work opportunities – with Blue Card Services routinely deeming these offences as unsuitable for people working with children. Understanding and addressing the causes of these behaviours in the homeless population, enabling people to access relevant health and social supports and not imposing unmanageable fines are all better uses of policing resources. We also met with Inquiry staff and our community worker colleagues at the Anglicare Homelessness Hub in Cairns to discuss the causal links between public offences and homelessness. Read our submission here.  

These views also informed our public response last month to comments from a Gold Coast councillor who advocated for a return of the vagrancy act in response to homelessness.


LawRight has been extensively involved since 2019 in the reshaping of national defamation laws, given that these matters represent up to 18% of the practice of the State Courts office of our Court and Tribunal Services. We want to ensure that the challenges faced by self-represented litigants who manage or comment on social media platforms are properly considered, as they are indicative of people with low household income who struggle to navigate complex processes. Our recent (and fifth) submission argued for a simpler, fairer complaints and defence process. Read it and our other submissions on the Model Defamation Provisions here.

Copyright © 2022 LawRight, All rights reserved.