Your Rights on Track with PSOs
Your Rights on Track is a community legal project aimed at supporting commuters who may be affected by the PSO roll out. The project, coordinated by the Federation of Community Legal Centres in partnership with Smart Justice for Young People and the Mental Health Legal Centre, is taking the lead by providing information to train travellers about PSO powers and their rights as commuters.
Vulnerable debtors and unpaid rates
In 2011 the Federation commenced a project in partnership with the Footscray Community Legal Centre: Local councils, debts and vulnerable debtors – a better way.
Maximising the benefits of alternative dispute resolution for disadvantaged Australians
While CLC clients stand to benefit from quick and cheap resolution via ADR, the disadvantages many face may prevent them from participating on an equal footing. The Federation has undertaken significant research into the impact of ADR, which culminated in the production of the Activist ADR: Community lawyers and the new civil justice report. This research and report has formed the basis of a number of Federation submissions and presentations.
Taxi drivers and insurance
Many taxi drivers risk bankruptcy every time they drive, because they have no insurance against third party property damage. The Federation is working with Victorian CLCs and other non-profit organisations to lobby the Victorian Government for reform. We believe that the Government should change the law, to make it compulsory for all taxis to carry comprehensive insurance.
Smart Justice is a project which aims to enhance the safety of all Victorians by promoting an understanding of criminal justice policies that are effective, evidence-based and human rights compliant.
There are now over 20 organisations involved in Smart Justice. For more information about the project, including fact sheets on topical criminal justice issues-from mandatory sentencing to crime prevention, visit the Smart Justice website.
Reducing the risk of misuse, injury and death from Tasers
Community legal centres have long argued that Tasers are not the panacea to reducing police use of a firearm. There are substantial dangers that Tasers can kill or harm when used on vulnerable groups or in particular ways. Evidence from around the world suggests that Tasers are prone to misuse by police. We also know that use of lethal force by police can often be avoided by better police training and tactics.
The Federation’s report, Taser Trap - Is Victoria Falling For It?, brings together internal Victoria Police documents obtained by the Federation through freedom of information legislation, as well as publicly available information and the experience of community legal centres, to warn the Victorian public that death and serious injury in connection with Taser use in Victoria is a real possibility.
You can download a copy of the report and view the documents referred to in the report here.
Police accountability - reducing the risk of injury and death from police firearms use
The Federation is currently seeking funding to continue our work on monitoring Victoria Police firearm use and minimising the risk of injury or death through advocating improved training and procedures.
Coronial law – preventing avoidable deaths and supporting bereaved families
Following advocacy by the Federation, CLCs, and other coronial system participants, the Victorian Parliament Law Reform Committee reviewed the Coroners Act 1985. The Federation welcomed a range of improvements in the Coroner’s Bill 2008, however, the Bill ignored, or only partly implemented, key recommendations of the Committee’s Final Report. Accordingly, the Federation pushed for amendments to the Bill, which have subsequently been adopted.
There is still much work to be done in the area of coronial reform. In 2010, the Federation convened a historic meeting of around 30 coronial advocates, researchers, academics and policy/law reform workers across Australia to discuss national coronial reform and recommend changes to improve the system.
Civil law – improving access to civil justice
Civil law continues to be the area of greatest unmet legal need in Victoria. We are working to identify, highlight and recommend ways of addressing gaps in civil law services, focusing on specific areas such as employment law, migration law, social security and tenancy.
Making Rights Reality: Access to justice for sexual assault victims with a cognitive impairment or communication difficulties
The Federation is working with the South Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault and Springvale Monash Legal Service to conduct a pilot program in South Eastern Melbourne to improve access to justice for sexual assault victims with a cognitive impairment or communication difficulties.
The Federation is continuing to work on effecting positive change to family violence policy. We are currently working on improving the operation of Safety Notices, preventing the re-victimisation of family violence victims through inappropriate prosecutions and preventing the inappropriate prosecution of fines against family violence victims.
Building the capacity of CLCs to conduct effective law reform and policy work
The Federation has been working to boost the capacity of its member CLCs to engage in law reform and policy and is seeking funding to produce a guide and training program on law reform participation for CLCs, NGOs and the wider community.
Human rights advocacy
Human Rights Week leading up to 10 December 2012 is a perfect time to celebrate key developments in promoting human rights across Australia over the last 12 months, and reflect on critical areas for change. CLCs deal with a range of human rights issues every day and strive to provide quality case work, community legal education and policy and law reform input, despite limited funding and resources.