Women’s Network Australia (WNA) will host its annual Christmas Charity Luncheon in Brisbane on Thursday 26 November, raising funds for Women’s Legal Service Queensland (WLSQ), with the support of Event Partner, KLM Solicitors.

COVID-19 restrictions have meant Women’s Network Australia members have been meeting ‘virtually’ for months, but with restrictions easing in Brisbane up to 200 women in business will gather to show their support for women experiencing domestic violence and needing legal support and assistance.

WLSQ is a specialist community legal centre providing free legal and social work help to women. This includes legal representation for matters including family law, child support, child protection, domestic violence, and sexual assault, as well as providing community legal education and participating in law reform. Isolation and social distancing have dramatically impacted WLSQ.

The service experienced a 47 per cent increase in calls during June 2020 alone, with an increase in the severity of issues women were experiencing due to having to isolate in unsafe homes, coupled with job losses, stress, and hardships. WLSQ Chief Executive Officer Angela Lynch said women’s legal services were already chronically underfunded long before the outbreak of COVID-19.

“The service is under pressure to respond – we cannot meet capacity,” Ms Lynch said. “Government funding, while gratefully accepted, will only go so far. We rely on donations and sponsorship to try to bridge the ever-widening funding gap.”

Founder and Principal Solicitor of KLM Solicitors Kelli Martin has seen first-hand the impact of COVID-19. “Having been a volunteer solicitor with WLSQ for many years, I know how important this service,” Ms Martin said. “I am pleased to see Women’s Network Australia and its members contributing to this fundraising effort.”

WNA Chief Executive Officer Janelle Bostock said, “Our 2020 Christmas Charity Luncheon will allow our members to reconnect in a way they have not been able to throughout the year. It has been an incredibly tough year for all small business owners and now more than ever we need to know we have each other’s backs.”

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