Sunshine Coast criminal and domestic violence lawyer Belinda Robinson is passionate about her work, but is also keenly aware of the risks of vicarious trauma common to those in her field. Insights spoke to Belinda about what attracted her to practice in criminal and domestic violence law, how she manages the emotional toll it can take, and what advice she might have for lawyers looking to make a difference in this area of practice.
Driven to deliver access to justice for diverse community groups
Belinda’s passion for her work is apparent.
“ I love the meaningful work I do,” said Belinda. “It’s immensely rewarding to be able to make a positive impact on the lives of as many people in our community as possible. It’s my mission to ensure justice, fairness and equality is accessible for people of all backgrounds - to give them a voice, create positive outcomes, and help them live a new life of freedom.”
However, the emotional labour involved in her work can be significant.
“Criminal law and domestic violence law are known to be two of the most emotionally draining areas of law to practice,” Belinda acknowledged. “These areas of law can result in vicarious or secondary trauma or ‘compassion fatigue’ in practitioners. With this in mind, I incorporate self-care in my daily life, as habits - such as going to the gym daily. This helps me to be the strongest and most resilient person I can be, both in my personal and professional life, for myself and for my clients.”
“Every day, I assist the less advantaged in our community to defend their rights, protect their liberty, and achieve justice, by giving them a voice. For me, that’s living the dream,” said Belinda. “The work I do goes beyond the provision of legal advice. I provide emotional support and help. It is incredibly fulfilling and rewarding;I could not imagine doing anything else.”
Stand out through further, practice-oriented study
Belinda credits further study - through the Legal Practice Management Course, and LLM (Applied Law) - with helping her effectively establish her own practice and specialise.
“The Master of Applied Laws gave me an invaluable and thorough education into family law, an area that I will now be able to branch out to, should I choose to,” said Belinda. “The Legal Practice Management Course allowed me to start my own firm, and I am now enrolling to study the Legal Practice and Innovation program to build on my existing knowledge from the Legal Practice Management Course.”
She praised the practical nature of her coursework - and a wide variety of electives.
“All my coursework and assessments provided directly transferable skills and knowledge to my real-life practice,” said Belinda. “There is a fantastic range of elective subjects which are applicable to everyday practice. My tutors were incredibly knowledgeable and talented; I felt completely supported the whole way through whilst working. The 100% flexible course delivery mode made studying achievable and easy for me whilst working fulltime as a professional. The curriculums are structured with high-quality content spot on for daily practice. I am so grateful to the College of Law for a first-rate learning experience and cannot wait to continue my studies here.”
For lawyers considering their next career move, Belinda suggests further, targeted study.
“The job market is only becoming increasingly tighter and more competitive,” Belinda noted. “It is so important to be able to stand out amongst other job candidates. It also goes without saying that we should never limit ourselves in our immeasurable ability to continue achieving and succeeding and educating ourselves to become the most knowledgeable we can possibly be. The more knowledge we gain, the greater our ability to be able to help more people in our lives, which is inspiring.”