Director’s report 2010-2011
BarCare is a confidential service to assist barristers that acts independently from the BarAssociation. This
is the third reporting period since BarCare has operated as a triage service provided by the director of care and assistance.
The demand has been consistent over the three years with approximately one new call each week. There were a total of 58 individual barristers seeking help either for themselves or for their colleagues in this reporting period. Depression was the primary presenting problem for 22 per cent of the cases seeking help. While this was the largest category many barristers had additional problems including financial and marital difficulties.
|Primary presenting problem||2008–2009||2009–2010||2010–2011|
|Advice and NFA||4||8||5|
|Rejected offer of assistance||2||5||1|
BarCare is able to refer people to specialist from the expert panel. The panel contains professionals in the field of psychiatrists, psychologist, social workers and financial advisors. The Barrister’s Benevolent Fund meets the cost of the first consultation. Accounts are forwarded to the director and are signed off and the identity removed. This ensures that barristers dealing with BarCare have strict confidentiality from the association. Any personal information is only disclosed the Bar Association with the express permission of the barrister.
Approximately one fifth of all calls were from family or colleagues who had concerns about a barrister. Sometimes the caller is seeking guidance about how they should approach the barrister who is experiencing difficulties. If preferred, the director will make a ‘cold call’ to the barrister and offer the services of BarCare. In this situation the name of the reporting person is not given to the barrister. Only one ‘cold call’ offer of assistance was rejected in this reporting period.
|Source of referral||2008–2009||2009–2010||2010–2011|
|Colleague via bar||6|
|Self via bar||3||2|
|Advice for colleague||5||5|
The age, sex and time practising at the bar are collected. These details are not available for all callers as some elect to seek information and guidance without disclosing any personal information. This is acceptable as the purpose of service is to provide any information that will assist barristers and their colleagues who are experiences difficulties in their practice.
|Age||<34||35-44||45-55||56-65||> 65||Rejected / unknown|
|Years at bar||<5||6-15||16-25||26-35||> 35||Unknown|
There was a two to one ratio of males to females contacting BarCare. The largest age group of nineteen barristers were in the ten-year group 55-65 years of age. Twelve barristers had been practising for less than five years. It is encouraging to see that these new barristers are seeking professional assistance when experiencing difficulties early in their career.
There were a number of premature or unexpected deaths of practising barristers. The Benevolent Fund was able to provide financial support to their families. The collegiate support that the fund provides in the form of professional or financial help for barristers in difficult times is sincerely valued from those receiving assistance.
Director, Care & Assistance