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Federation welcomes boost for outreach legal help to tackle family violence

Boost for outreach legal help in hospitals will help tackle family violenceOutreach legal help for vulnerable women is set to expand in hospitals and other health-care settings with new Federal funding for North Melbourne Legal Service announced yesterday by Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus QC MP.  The expansion will mean that more women seeking help for health matters who may be at risk from family violence will have the option of being referred to legal help they can access within the same hospital or health-care visit.
Through the existing Acting on the Warning Signs project, an advocacy-health alliance between North Melbourne Legal Service and the Royal Women’s Hospital, doctors, nurses and midwives are trained to recognise the signs of family violence, and to refer women to social workers and outreach lawyers working within the health-care setting. Importantly, the service allows women to seek legal help for family violence without disclosing to others that they are seeing a lawyer.
The funding boost of $480,000 over four years will allow the project to expand its work and explore the possibility of involving additional hospitals and health-care providers. The new funding complements existing funding of nearly $300,000 by the Legal Services Board Grant Program, and financial and pro bono legal support from Herbert Smith Freehills (Read the full media release).
North Melbourne Legal Service also featured last night in a report on ABC TV News Victoria regarding the impact of Legal Aid cuts on representation in court for women facing family violence.

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