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Community Law News Summer 2013-14

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Welcome to 2014

After a busy year in 2013 supporting our members, pursuing law reform and working to achieve access to justice, the Federation of Community Legal Centres is back for 2014 and looking forward to working with you all to achieve further progress.
Our first newsletter for the year offers some highlights of our recent work, with more to come through the year. Our plans for 2014 include:
  • Working with our national and interstate peak CLC associations to advocate to government about CLCs’ vital services and the extent of unmet legal need in our community, and to provide input into the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Access to Justice
  • Ensuring that all Victorian CLCs have been through the National CLC Accreditation scheme by mid 2014
  • Working with VCOSS and CLC funders on any opportunities and implications for CLCs arising from the Victorian Government’s response to Peter Shergold’s report Service Sector Reform: A roadmap for community and human services reform
  • Negotiating with Victoria Legal Aid on a protocol setting out the process that will be applied where there are concerns about a CLC
  • Continuing to host the Community Law Australia campaign, a national campaign conducted in partnership with the NACLC and our state and territory counterparts to raise awareness of the access to justice crisis in Australia
  • Supporting CLCs to adapt and thrive in a changing environment through the fourth CLC Adaptive Leadership Program and the new CLC Discussion Forum series, and 
  • Continuing to work with member CLCs and other organisations on a range of policy issues impacting CLC client groups in the lead up to the November 2014 state election.

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Cuts to legal assistance service will worsen Australia’s access to justice crisis

On 17 December 2013, as the Federal Government released its MYEFO statement, we were dismayed to learn of $43.1 million in cuts to legal assistance services including CLCs, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS), Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention Legal Services and Legal Aid Commissions.
The Community Law Australia campaign responded immediately, making it clear these cuts will fuel the national access to justice crisis in Australia.
“We know from multiple reports and studies on unmet legal need in Australia that the access to justice crisis is growing significantly. To respond to this crisis not with badly needed additional funding but with broad-ranging cuts totalling more than $42 million will further jeopardise the most vulnerable in our community,” said Carolyn Bond AO, national spokesperson for Community Law Australia, in a media release.
Community legal centres – including nine Environment Defenders Offices, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, and other CLCs for which details are yet to be announced – face cuts of $19.61 million over four years.
In Victoria the Environment Defenders Office is facing the most immediate cuts. For information about how you can support the Victorian EDO visit this page.
The National Association of Community Legal Centres joined in responding to the cuts, with national Convenor, Michael Smith, stating that “The cuts are apparently aimed at policy and law reform work. But overwhelmingly, CLC community lawyers and staff provide frontline legal services to people in the community. The information and knowledge gained by this work is invaluable to government and the broader community, but the reality is there are not significant staff resources focused on policy projects alone. It is impossible to see how the ‘provision of frontline legal services’ will not be affected by these cuts”.
The Federation will work with member CLCs and our national and interstate CLC association colleagues in 2014 to make sure decision makers understand the impact of cutting critical legal assistance services and to try to prevent further cuts.

Productivity Commission Access to Justice Inquiry update

In mid-2013 the Productivity Commission was asked inquire into Access to Justice Arrangements in relation to civil justice issues, with a focus on constraining costs and improving access to justice and equality before the law. While not the first inquiry to look at these issues, the Productivity Commission has never before looked at access to justice and legal assistance services, and the inquiry is clearly an important one in the context of CLC and other cuts announced in December 2013.
The Commission released an Issues Paper in September 2013, seeking responses to over 120 questions about legal services and the private profession, legal need, the operation of courts and tribunals and other elements of the civil justice system.
The Federation worked with the NACLC and other state and territory CLC associations on a joint submission (PDF) to the inquiry, highlighting the nature, scope and value of CLCs’ work. The submission discusses the extent of legal need, funding for CLCs and the various ways in which CLCs currently work to improve access to justice through a blend of direct legal services, community engagement and legal education, and systemic advocacy.
Given CLCs’ expertise in early intervention and informal dispute resolution and the Federation’s previous work on the risks and benefits of ADR, we also coordinated a joint submission on ADR (PDF), one of the areas under consideration in the inquiry.
As well as these joint submissions, we have also met with the inquiry’s Presiding Commissioner and participated in a national round table on legal assistance services and another on ADR.
Congratulations to the many CLCs and CLC networks who found time to make their own submissions to the inquiry. A full list of submissions can be found at the Productivity Commission website.
The Productivity Commission’s Draft Report is expected in April 2014, followed by public hearings and an opportunity to make submissions in response to the Draft Report before the final report is released. The Federation will continue to engage with the Productivity Commission throughout the Inquiry process.

Community Law Australia campaign – how you can help in 2014

Send your story about the great work of community legal centres to the Community Law Australia campaign.Have you sent a case study or other news to the Community Law Australia campaign recently? The campaign will be running again in 2014, so keep sending us your news (see below).
Community Law Australia plays an important role in raising the profile of community legal centres nationally, highlighting the extent of unmet legal need, and advocating for increased resourcing for CLCs at a Federal and State level.
The campaign tells the story of the good work of community legal centres nationally, highlighting the vital role of the legal help they provide to individuals, as well as the vital role of advocacy and law reform.
The campaign was established in 2012 by a coalition of the NACLC and all state and territory CLC associations. In 2014, Liana Buchanan will chair the campaign, and Carolyn Bond will continue as the national spokesperson with support from the Federation’s communications manager, Darren Lewin-Hill.
CLA can use information you provide to develop media stories – for mainstream as well as social media. One of the campaign’s biggest challenges has been to gather enough case studies (even one paragraph anonymous ones can be useful), but would also like news about what your centre is doing, and examples of good outcomes from law reform work. Email to carolyn@fclc.org.au or contact CLA via the website.
You can read more about the campaign at the Community Law Australia website, engage with us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Yarra Ranges Community Legal Centre set to open

Denise Budge, Outer East Manager, Cr Jim Child, Yarra Ranges Mayor, Inspector Stephen Noy, Community Engagement, Michael Smith, CEO and Holly Kliska, Administration at the Yarra Ranges CLC Community Briefing in Healesville.Staffing and preparations are progressing for the new Yarra Ranges Community Legal Centre (CLC) that will provide free legal help to people living in Yarra Ranges. The new Centre will have a focus on responding to family violence and housing issues in the large and diverse Yarra Ranges area.
In September ECLC conducted a community briefing to outline plans for the CLC and listen in more detail to the needs of the local communities. Over 40 community members attended including Yarra Ranges Mayor Jim Child and agency staff.
Michael Smith, CEO noted the importance of working with the community
“ECLC has been active in the Yarra Ranges Community for a number of years, but the new CLC will mean much improved access to local residents, both in direct legal assistance and our broader work.
The initial staff team based in Healesville have all commenced with Centre Co-ordinator Belinda Gillam Derry, Community Lawyer Anita Koochew and Administration Officer Holly Kliska. All bring extensive professional expertise and local connections as Yarra Ranges residents.
VLA announced funding of $70,000 in the first year that would allow the ECLC to both deliver services and further research the legal needs of local communities. The Commonwealth has also provided $50,000 funding this financial year, with $100,000 per year over the next three years.
The new centre will see its first client on 17 February and will open on Tuesday–Thursday at the Healesville Community Link. Outreach services will continue in Lilydale, Yarra Glen and Yarra Junction and may be expanded depending on community need.
Contacting Yarra Ranges CLC
Healesville Community Link
110 River Street
(PO Box 79), Healesville VIC 3777
Phone: (03) 5962 1665 Regional: 1300 79 70 88
Office Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday 9am–5pm 

Mental Health Legal Centre relaunches

After a challenging period in 2013 when it looked like the Mental Health Legal Centre was at risk of its ceasing operations after more than 26 years, things are starting to look up.
MHLC now has a new constitution with strengthened governance including a new expert board chaired by Stan Winford, new premises, a great strategic plan and quite a few exciting new projects under development.
In October, MHLC formally established a partnership with RMIT University's new Centre for Innovative Justice.
MHLC is now co-located with the CIJ in its Victoria Street, Melbourne premises. MHLC's strategic partnership with the CIJ will support MHLC's advocacy and research capacity, and provide opportunities for RMIT law students to experience clinical legal education in a range of unique settings.
Philanthropic trusts including the William Buckland Foundation and the Phyllis Connor Memorial Trust have maintained and increased their support for MHLC's Inside Access program, so it continues to provide critical support to Victorian prisoners and forensic patients.
MHLC has also appointed a new Principal/Manager, Charlotte Jones, to lead the organisation, establish a sustainable funding base and drive the process of re-establishing a range of core legal advice services including its volunteer-staffed telephone advice line and representation before the mental health review board.
The MHLC is filled with the promise of opportunities to come in 2014, and we look forward to seeing you all when we officially re-launch the Centre at its new premises early in 2014. Stay tuned.

2013 Annual General Meeting

The Federation's 2013 Annual General Meeting drew a broad audience of member centres and stakeholders to a Victoria University venue overlooking the Flinders Street station clock on Wednesday 30 October 2013.
Chairperson Nick Hudson and Executive Officer Liana Buchanan recounted a strong year for Victoria's community legal centres before introducing three speakers on the theme, "Community Legal Centres: Achievements, Challenges and Directions".
Nicola Rivers, Law Reform Director at Environment Defenders Office Victoria, prominent barrister David Neal SC, and Brimbank Melton Community Legal Centre's Managing Lawyer Stephanie Tonkin all spoke strongly on the theme, sharing three different perspectives about CLCs’ unique role.
The formal AGM saw the election of three new members to the Federation's committee of management.
Zana Bytheway (JobWatch) and Kristen Wallwork (Springvale Monash Legal Service) joined a re-elected Belinda Lo (Eastern CLC) and members continuing their terms to form the 2013–14 Federation Committee of Management.
The Federation acknowledges the contributions of Jillian Williams (Consumer Action Law Centre) and Greta Haywood (Melbourne University Student Union Legal Service), whose terms on the committee have expired.
Audio from the event is available online.

Policy and law reform

Federation opposes new anti-protest Bill

The Federation has made a submission (PDF) opposing the Victorian Government’s new anti-protest Bill, the Summary Offences and Sentencing Amendment Bill 2013. The Bill expands move-on powers for police and PSOs, and introduces new exclusion orders, the breach of which can result in imprisonment for two years.
The submission, to the Victorian Parliament’s Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee (SARC), calls for the Bill to be withdrawn pending a full community consultation process, given the significant impact of the proposed new laws and their limitations of human rights.
Ten submissions were received by the committee, including five from the community legal sector, and can be viewed on the SARC website.
The Federation will be participating in a rally opposing the Bill, and encourages members to join us. The rally will be held on Tuesday 18 February 2014, meeting at 10am at Trades Hall and marching to the Parliament of Victoria.
Related media articles
How Victoria is quietly riding roughshod over basic freedoms, Crikey, 3 February 2014 (trial registration or subscription required)

Smart Justice case study launched

Susan told Smart Justice about her experience of prison and the need for alternatives.The end of 2013 saw the Smart Justice project play an important and high profile role in raising awareness of the impact of ineffective ‘law and order’ policies and the massive growth in Victoria’s prison population (See Media coverage).
During this period, the project had a strong media focus on the Victorian prison crisis around accelerating growth in the prison population, prison overcrowding, and contributing factors such as sentencing changes and parole reform.
As well as this media focus, on 22 November, the Smart Justice project launched the first in a series of video stories about the human impact of prison.
Counting the cost: A life divided by prison is the story of Susan, and offers a powerful account of a woman entering and living through prison, and of her experiences after release.
We invite you to watch Susan’s story and to read more about the consequences of ineffective tough-on-crime policies in The Guardian Australia.

Community agencies unite in the face of unprecedented family violence court demand

Senior Policy Adviser Dr Chris Atmore wrote to The Age on family violence intervention orders.Victorian Magistrates’ Courts are increasingly under pressure as the demand for family violence intervention orders continues to rise, with the latest Annual Report showing a 42 per cent growth in finalised applications over the last five years. In September 2013, the Department of Justice sought responses from family violence stakeholders on proposals to streamline the family violence intervention order system.
The proposals suggest expediting matters in the courts via the introduction of self-executing interim orders and determination of intervention order applications on the papers. Another proposal is to empower Police to issue Family Violence Safety Notices (FVSNs) at any time, instead of only after court hours as at present.
The Federation partnered with its member centres Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria, Women’s Legal Service Victoria, and Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service, along with Domestic Violence Victoria, No To Violence, Women with Disabilities Victoria, inTouch Multicultural Centre against Family Violence and the Council to Homeless Persons, to produce a detailed joint submission to the Department.
We argued that the rise in family violence matters indicates that the integrated response to family violence which began 11 years ago is actually working. Now is therefore the time to resource the courts to build on this success. It is important that we strengthen our risk assessment and safety planning for women, and tighten the web of accountability for perpetrators.
Many agencies are concerned that if the Government’s proposals are implemented, more perpetrators may never attend court, thereby potentially reducing intervention orders to being on a par with traffic tickets. This is likely to have repercussions for women’s safety, as well as being unlikely to save time and costs across the family violence system, due to likely complaints from respondents further down the track about lack of procedural fairness, and the need for people to come to court at a later stage because they have not been able to access the services, such as duty lawyers, that would be there if they had attended in the first place.
As the peak body for community legal centres, we are also concerned that the role of the courts as a cornerstone of the much-admired Victorian family violence response could be undermined, as judicial oversight is reduced and extra-judicial power via FVSNs is increased.
The Attorney-General, Robert Clark, is currently considering stakeholder submissions.
See also:

We say don’t abolish defensive homicide

What is the legal fate of a woman when she kills her violent partner? What is the outcome when men kill women, or other men? Is the system fair? These issues were considered in a recent submission (PDF) that the Federation co-authored with Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria, Dr Danielle Tyson (Monash University), Associate Professor Bronwyn Naylor (Monash University) and the Victorian Women’s Trust, in response to the Department of Justice’s Consultation Paper on reforming defensive homicide.
Our submission drew on recent research by DVRCV and Monash University which shows that although the partial defence of defensive homicide was introduced in Victoria in 2005, family violence is still not sufficiently recognised in homicide cases. This means that it is important for women who kill in family violence contexts to continue to have a defensive homicide ‘safety net’ in case they are not successful in being acquitted on the basis of self-defence – in order to avoid being convicted of murder. Since the reforms, only one man who killed his female partner has been convicted of defensive homicide, with all other male offenders receiving this conviction after killing men.
We therefore oppose the Consultation Paper’s proposal to abolish defensive homicide, and we also advocate for further steps to be taken to improve the likelihood that women will be able to successfully raise self-defence in a family violence context. The submission argues that a sustained effort is needed to shift gender stereotypes and misconceptions about family violence – including improving the homicide legislation, reducing the over-charging of female defendants, using expert evidence and specialist lists for family violence homicide cases, and increasing training of legal professionals.
The submission was endorsed by an unprecedented 12 other organisations, including Koorie Women Mean Business and Victorian Women Lawyers.

Collaborating to change sexual offence laws

In January, the Federation worked with CASA Forum – Victoria’s peak body for Centres Against Sexual Assault – and University of Melbourne academic, Dr Wendy Larcombe, to respond to the Department of Justice’s Review of Sexual Offences Consultation Paper. The Consultation Paper is a long and complex document, and we were concerned that many community organisations might not have the capacity and resources to make substantial submissions, especially on the more technical legal aspects of the Paper’s proposals. We therefore developed an extensive submission (PDF) and sought endorsement from a range of other agencies.
While there have previously been significant reforms to Victoria’s sexual offences laws, much work remains to be done in order to achieve genuine justice for victim/survivors of sexual offences without compromising the rights of those accused. A large number of appeals in recent years have highlighted delays, confusion and inconsistencies in sexual offence legislation. Our submission therefore welcomes the Review and mainly supports, subject to modifications, the Paper’s proposals.
However, we argue that in order to better prevent sexual violence and exploitation and promote sexual autonomy, it is important that the law supports a positive, communicative concept of sexual consent. It is also essential that the criminalising of sexual offences sets them within the broader social context of gendered and other power relations which underpin the experiences of sexual violence, mainly by women and children, and its perpetration, mainly by men.
While the process of amending the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) would go some way toward clarifying sexual offences law, significant improvements will only be realised if those reforms are implemented in tandem with a raft of other legislative and broader policy changes, including funding for education and practice change.
To effectively develop such a framework, we recommend that the Victorian Government conduct further consultations and information sessions with key stakeholders, including sexual assault victim/survivor advocacy organisations, community legal centres and academic researchers. Practical application and implementation of reforms also require further consideration by police, prosecutors, defence lawyers and current judges sitting in the County and Supreme Courts of Victoria.
The submission was endorsed by 13 organisations, including Victorian Council of Social Services, Koorie Women Mean Business, Women’s Health Victoria, Victorian Women’s Trust, Domestic Violence Victoria and No To Violence Male Family Violence Prevention Association.

Sector development

Accreditation update

The National CLC Accreditation Scheme is an important element of our work to support excellence in the CLC sector, and we continue to work with centres through the accreditation process.
Congratulations to the seventeen CLCs that have now received certification under the National CLC Accreditation Scheme. These are:
Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service
AED Legal Centre
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
Brimbank Melton CLC
Central Highlands CLC
Consumer Action Law Centre
First Step Legal Service
Footscray CLC
Gippsland CLS
Hume Riverina CLS
Loddon Campaspe Community Legal Centre
Monash Oakleigh Legal Service
Moonee Valley Legal Service
Social Security Rights Victoria
Springvale Monash Legal Service
Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service
Wyndham Legal Service
An additional 15 CLCs have had site visits completed and are awaiting their final report and work plan before certification. Thirteen site visits have been scheduled.
We are working to ensure the first round of accreditation is complete by June 2014 and Cate Edwards, the Victorian Accreditation Coordinator, is receiving assistance from interstate colleagues with site visits to have all site visits complete and certification decisions made by June 2014.

CLC Law Graduate Scheme 2013–14

We currently have three law graduates participating in the Community Legal Centre Law Graduate Scheme.
Bethany King has just finished her first CLC placement at Footscray CLC and has now ventured a bit further afield for her four-month placement at Barwon CLS in Geelong. Beth will conclude her rotation at Women’s Legal Service Victoria.
Gemma Cafarella completed her first CLC placement at Flemington Kensington Community Legal Centre and she has now relocated to Bendigo for her placement at Loddon Campaspe Community Legal Centre until April. She will commence her final placement at Justice Connect’s Homeless Persons Legal Clinic.
The graduates will complete their final CLC placements in August 2014. With such hands-on experience in the CLC sector, a targeted training program addressing the core competencies for CLC lawyers, and having the opportunity to be trained and mentored by incredibly experienced and talented CLC lawyers, there is no doubt that the graduates will be a huge asset to the sector as they embark on their careers as CLC lawyers. Please keep them in mind for positions in your CLCs later in the year.
Our newest law graduate, Amy Frew completed her Juris Doctor (JD) at the University of Melbourne in November 2013. Amy has been a member of the CLC community for some time working as an intern and a volunteer. She currently volunteers at Flemington Kensington CLC and has been awarded the Dreamlarge Student Engagement Grant by the University of Melbourne to develop the Police Accountability Project website, commencing August 2013. She has also volunteered for four years with the case work team and human rights law team at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, VLA and Melbourne Journal of International Law. She worked as an intern at Waller Legal and has also interned at FCLC, VLA and Flemington Kensington CLC. She has held paid positions at FCLC, University of Melbourne, Department of Premier and Cabinet, Department of Transport and Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. Amy is a member of the Melbourne Journal of International Law editorial executive, and a research assistant at the Law Research Service at the University of Melbourne.
Amy started her PLT at Leo Cussen in January and will commence her 12-month law graduate secondments in CLCs in August. Information for CLCs interesting in hosting Amy as part of the program will be available soon. This is a great opportunity for CLCs to be a part of at his very successful program, having access to the skills and knowledge of some of the most talented law graduates.
For information about the scheme, visit the Federation website.

Professional development

The Federation will continue to offer professional development opportunities for CLC staff and volunteers in 2014. The Annual CLC CPD Training Day was again sold out well before the event. The training provides CLC lawyers with a professional development opportunity to build their knowledge and skills in the compulsory CPD fields including Ethics and Professional Responsibility, Professional Skills and Practice Management and Business Skills. This year sessions will include; how to work with mentors, an introduction to evaluations for legal service delivery, ethical considerations in working with clients with diminished capacity, effective supervision in CLCs and managing client expectations and risk management. The training will also be available via video conference thanks to the assistance and support of VLA.

CLC Adaptive Leadership Program

Following the success of the CLC Adaptive Leadership Program over the past two years, the Federation of Community Legal Centres, in partnership with leadership expert, Jil Tovey from IKD, is running our fourth Adaptive Leadership Program for CLC staff in March and May 2014.
The program was developed to strengthen the leadership capability in the CLC sector and provide current and future managers with the skills required to build on the performance and relevance of CLCs in an ever changing environment. Beginning with individual leadership development that is focussed on adaptation and growth, the program provides practical and conceptual frameworks that enable managers to support evolving practices in the CLC Sector.
53 CLC current and future managers and leaders have now completed the program.

New CLC discussion forum

After three successful programs of the CLC Adaptive Leadership Program, CLC leaders came together in September 2013 to discuss what other options might exist to develop CLCs that can adapt and thrive in a changing context while retaining the values and elements that make CLCs uniquely valuable.
One of the ideas developed on that day was the idea of an ongoing CLC Discussion Forum, to be facilitated by people from different CLCs.
Joanna Fletcher of the Women’s Legal Service and Khoi Cao-Lam of Inner Melbourne Community Legal Centre led the first forum in November 2013 on the topic “Culture Eats Strategy for Lunch”.
This was highly interactive discussion to explore the role of culture and strategy in CLC success. How does culture impact strategy and vice versa? Is there a CLC sector culture as well as individual centre cultures? What aspects of CLC culture are important to keep and are there some aspects we should change?
There was a great level of interest shown in the forum and a great turnout. Due to the quality and depth of the discussion, we were unable to work through the full agenda and the session will continue in a second session.
This next session to be held on 5 March will continue to explore stories of positive cultural change and transformation within the sector as well as practical strategies for developing and harnessing culture to get results for the community.
Those attending the first discussion are strongly encouraged to continue the conversation, whilst those who were not able to attend the first session will still be able to join in for the next round.
Register your attendance by going to www.fclc.org.au/events and look for events in March.

Attorney-General’s Community Law Partnership

The Attorney-General’s Community Law Partnerships Scheme aims to support relationship building between community legal centres (CLCs) and the private legal profession in Victoria.
The considerable interest and goodwill that exists amongst CLCs and private law firms in developing innovative pro bono partnerships is highlighted each year as the Federation of CLCs hosts a networking event as part of the Community Law Partnerships Scheme.
This year’s event from 5–7pm on Thursday 13 February will be an informal gathering of CLC and law firm representatives, hosted at the offices of DLA Piper with a panel of speakers from CLCs and firms sharing information about their experience of working together.
Please see the FCLC website (PDF) for further information.

RRR’s Big Day Out! 

Each year the rural, regional and remote CLCs come together for a day of networking, sharing, discussion and learning. This year, the RRR Networking day will give RRR CLCs an opportunity to showcase their practices and visit CLCs in the Melbourne CBD, as well as learn more about innovative pro bono projects, animal law, sexting and more.
Please see the FCLC website for further information.

NACLC update

Opportunities available with NACLC

NACLC has two very exciting Deputy Director opportunities available.

National CLC conference

The National CLC Conference will be at the Alice Springs Convention Centre, from 13–15 August 2014. Networks Day will be on Tuesday 12 August and the NACLC Management Committee on Monday 11 August 2014.

Productivity Commission

NACLC has provided input to the Productivity Commission in a number of ways including making a joint submission on the access to justice issues paper, a joint submission on early intervention measures and alternative dispute resolutions and attendance at the Commission Roundtable on legal assistance and the Commission Roundtable on alternative dispute resolution.

NACLC Census

Thank you to all the CLCs that completed the NACLC Census. The results are now being analysed. Congratulations to Queensland Advocacy Inc. – winner of the iPad mini for participating. For any inquiries about the Census, please contact Chantel on 02 9264 9595 or chantel_cotterell@clc.net.au

Universal Periodic Review

NACLC with assistance from other CLCs and NGOs coordinated an update on Australia’s progress towards implementing Universal Periodic Review (UPR) recommendations for the United Nations Human Rights Council. The UPR is a process through which the human rights records of countries can be reviewed and assessed. NACLC hopes that this report will encourage the Government to increase its efforts in areas where more progress is needed. An email has been sent to all CLCs in the near future calling for endorsement of the report, so please let us know if your centre will sign on.

NACLC Governance Survey

Thank you to all those CLCs that completed the NACLC Governance Survey. If you would like to discuss the proposal further please contact your state or territory CLC association representative.

knowmore assists 16 survivors per day

Since its 1800 line went live in July this year, knowmore, the national independent legal service that assists people who are engaged, or are considering engaging with the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, has received more than 1500 client calls. This works out at an average of nearly 16 client contacts per day. More than 12% of callers have identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders and 19% of calls have come from clients in Victoria.
knowmore has been established by, and operates as a separate program of, the National Association of Community Legal Centres Inc., with specific funding from the Australian Government represented by the Attorney-General’s Department.
The practice offers a collaborative and holistic model of service delivery that acknowledges the profound and pervasive impact of trauma on clients’ lives. A team of lawyers, counsellors/social workers and Aboriginal cultural liaison officers work together to provide culturally appropriate and trauma-sensitive legal advice, information, support and assistance, not just about engaging with the Royal Commission, but also related legal matters.
knowmore is working closely with other service providers and is particularly committed to collaborating with community legal centres and other service providers in the legal sector, including the State and Territory Legal Aid Commissions. Numerous community legal education sessions and outreach visits have been conducted for workers and clients of CLCs around the country.
knowmore is developing a community legal education kit that will be provided to CLCs and support groups to enable them to provide information to their clients about the Royal Commission and knowmore’s role.
We have developed a number of resources about knowmore’s services which have been distributed to all CLCs. Further copies can be obtained through the website along with a range of factsheets that CLC workers may find helpful.
knowmore’s head office is at 233 Castlereagh St, Sydney. Offices in Brisbane and Melbourne will be opened in early 2014.
The Melbourne office will be located in the CBD. There has been strong interest in the roles within the Melbourne team and recruiting is well advanced.
For more information, visit www.knowmore.org.au or call 02 8267 7400. knowmore’s national free advice line is 1800 605 762.

Media wrap

The Federation has maintained a strong media profile throughout 2013 across a range of projects and working in collaboration with our members. If you have a media inquiry, or are a member seeking media assistance, please contact the Federation’s communications manager, Darren Lewin-Hill on 0488 773 535 or darren.lewin-hill@fclc.org.au

Media coverage

NSW mandatory minimum sentencing to curb alcohol-related violence, The Project, 21 January 2014 (From 5 minutes 50 seconds)
Tit-for-tat tactics, The Age, 17 December 2013 (Family violence intervention orders)
Young people in adult prison, 3RRR, Grapevine, Monday 16 December 2013
(This link opens the 3RRR page, then a pop-up on which you hit “play”. The player then loads and jumps to the specific part of the program. Best via desktop PC.)
Ararat jail expansion tipped to ease overcrowding, ABC News Online 6 December 2013
ABC News 24 interview on shipping container response to Victorian prison crisis, Tuesday 3 December 2013
Shipping container cells used to ease overcrowding in prisons, ABC Radio National AM, 3 December 2013
Prison officers' union slams new measures to relieve pressure on system, ABC Radio National The World Today, 3 December 2013
Interview on shipping container response to Victorian prison crisis, 774 ABC Melbourne, Mornings (Sally Warhaft for Jon Faine), Tuesday 3 December 2013
State government dips into emergency funds to cope with prison ‘crisis’, ABC News Online, 28 November 2013 (see related Smart Justice media release)
Victorian prison overcrowding at crisis point, legal groups warn, The Guardian Australia, Friday 22 November 2013
Victorian Government accused of avoiding prisons scrutiny, ABC Radio National AM, 16 November 2013
Plea for young offenders: Prisons overcrowded, Sunraysia Daily, 11 November 2013
Jail hard sell “not working”, Sunraysia Daily, 8 November 2013
Prison population keeps growing, ABC TV, 7.30 Victoria, 8 November 2013
Victoria steps up war on bikies with AFP, ATO collaboration, ABC TV News Victoria, 30 October 2013
Police and PSO use of capsicum spray, 3CR Doin Time, Monday 28 October 2013
Politicising prisons, ABC Radio National Sunday Extra, 6 October 2013
Radio news grab on new crime stats body recruitment of chief statistician, ABC 774 Melbourne, 6 October 2013

Media releases


CLCs in the media

Fighting family violence in Flemington, Ascot Vale, The Moonee Valley Weekly Review, 28 January 2014
Light shines for our discrimination warriors, The Moonee Valley Weekly Review, 17 December 2013
Judge becomes patron of legal centre, Lawyers Weekly, 4 December 2013
There’s cause for amendment, but not repeal, The Herald Sun, 28 November 2013
Calls for independent prisons monitor to address crisis in Vic system, ABC Radio National, The World Today, 26 November 2013
Men need to lead the way, Bendigo Advertiser, 24 November 2013
Crowded cells cause concern, Bendigo Advertiser, 17 November 2013
Study reveals family violence concerns, ABC News Online, 11 November 2013

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