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Children Don't Belong In Adult Prison System: Peak body concerned by Government decision

The peak body for community lawyers in Victoria is deeply concerned by the Victorian Government decision, announced today, to move youth justice from the Department of Health and Human Services into Corrections Victoria - the department that manages adult prisons.The Victorian Federation of Community Legal Centres joins leading human rights and social welfare bodies in raising deep concerns about the move. More >

Law societies issue open letter to PM, joining chorus of voices calling for legal assistance funding

Law societies nationally have joined the chorus of voices calling for sustainable funding for free legal assistance services.In an open letter to Malcolm Turnbull published today, the law societies of every state and territory have called on the prime minister to reverse $35m of cuts to community legal centres, and to boost funding to legal aid and Aboriginal legal services. More >

Legal funding leaves services out of reach for many women facing family violence

Funding to provide free legal help for women facing family violence announced today by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will come as some relief to victims and the community legal centres who help them. However, it falls short of restoring Federal Government cuts and does not address growing need for family violence and broader legal help, according to the Federation of Community Legal Centres. More >

What's the future of free legal help in Victoria?

The future of free legal help in Victoria will be the focus of a symposium at Melbourne Town Hall tomorrow (Friday 14 October). Achieving Justice will bring together community legal centres, Victoria Legal Aid, the Victorian Council of Social Service, Domestic Violence Victoria and key not-for-profit organisations working for social justice. More >

Access to Justice Review confirms the value of legal help, need for increased funding

The Federation of Community Legal Centres has welcomed today's release of the Victorian Govern-ment's Access to Justice Review.Undertaken by the Department of Justice and Regulation, the review was tasked with identifying ways to improve access to justice for Victorians to ensure the most vulnerable and disadvantaged receive the support they need when they have a legal problem. More >

Diary ruling a step towards greater scrutiny of damaging legal help cuts, community lawyers say

Today's Federal Court ruling requiring the reconsideration of a refusal to release the work diary of Attorney-General George Brandis under freedom of information laws has been welcomed by the Federation of Community Legal Centres. More >

Community lawyers and advocates voice strong support for royal commission on youth detention

Community lawyers and advocates have strongly supported calls for a royal commission following revelations of young people held in isolation and severely mistreated in detention in the Northern Territory. More >

First round grants open for community legal centre family violence fund

Applications are now open for the first round of grants under the Victorian Government's community legal centre family violence fund. Grants close at midnight on 29 July. More >

Legal peak rejects Brandis comments, urges PM response to open letter on legal help crisis

The Federation of Community Legal Centres has strongly rejected comments by Federal Attorney-General George Brandis at this week's election debate, and has called on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to respond urgently to an open letter on the crisis in community legal centre funding. More >

Dreyfus-Brandis debate a vital chance to focus on legal help funding crisis, community lawyers say

A debate this afternoon between Attorney-General George Brandis and Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus offers a vital chance to focus on the national crisis in community legal centre funding in the lead-up to the Federal election, according to the peak body for fifty community legal centres in Victoria. More >

Community legal peak appoints respected lawyer, campaigner and advocate as new executive officer

Respected lawyer, campaigner and advocate Serina McDuff has been appointed as executive officer of the Federation of Community Legal Centres, the peak body for 50 community legal centres in Victoria. More >

Money for mobile blackspots in Geelong as legal help blackspots worsen under Federal cuts

As prime minister Malcolm Turnbull announces money for mobile blackspots in Corangamite, he is neglecting existing blackspots in free legal help and making them worse with more than $34 million in cuts left in place in the Federal Budget amid a broader Federal funding shortfall of $100m over four years. More >

Community lawyers join call for urgently needed boost to all legal assistance services

Community legal centres are set to join tomorrow's rally in support of increased funding for legal aid, and for broader legal assistance services including community legal centres, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS), and Family Violence Prevention Legal Services (FVPLS). More >

Family violence legal assistance announcement manifestly inadequate, community lawyers say

Today's Federal Government announcement of $30 million over three years for family violence legal assistance will fail to reverse cuts to community legal centres and is manifestly inadequate to meet the needs of women seeking protection from family violence, according to the Federation of Community Legal Centres, the Victorian peak body representing more than a quarter of Australia's 200 community legal centres. More >

Community lawyers urge caution over claims of new legal assistance funding not detailed in Budget

Community lawyers have urged caution and called for full funding of all family violence services following claims by Senator Michaelia Cash on ABC radio that community legal centres can expect a share of broader family violence funding* from the Federal Budget that was not allocated to legal assistance services. More >

Budget fails on urgently needed funding for free legal help for vulnerable people

Tonight's Federal Budget has seen no new investment in community legal centres, leaving in place a national 30 per cent cut set to commence in July 2017. In failing on free legal help for people who can't afford a lawyer or get legal aid, the Federal Government has ignored a central recommendation of the Productivity Commission for an urgent annual boost to national funding for combined free legal assistance services of $200 million a year. More >

Federal Government flags Budget failure on vital funding boost needed for free legal help

The Federal Government has flagged its failure on community legal centre funding in tomorrow's Federal Budget by ignoring a central recommendation of the Productivity Commission for an urgent annual boost to national funding for combined free legal assistance services of $200 million a year. More >

Vic Govt boosts free legal help, but should do more

Today's State Budget has included a modest one-year boost of $2.5 million to help community legal centres tackling family violence, and one-year $400,000 funding for specialist community legal centre JobWatch, but more sustained investment is needed, according to the Federation of Community Legal Centres, the peak body for 50 community legal centres in Victoria. More >

More needed for family violence legal help, as State boost threatened by Federal cuts

While welcoming $2.5 million for community legal centres under yesterday's family violence funding announcement by the Victorian Government, at least an additional $4 million per year is needed to tackle family violence related legal problems, according to the Federation of Community Legal Centres. More >

Community lawyers challenge Federal Government's commitment to ending family violence as Budget fears mount

Community lawyers are challenging the Federal Government's commitment to ending family violence as fears mount that the 2016 Budget will fail to reverse cuts to community legal centres that form the backbone of its proposed national intervention order scheme. More >

Royal Commission says Vic Govt should advocate at COAG on funding for family violence legal help

Today's report of the Royal Commission into Family Violence has sent a strong signal in advance of Friday's COAG meeting that the State Government should advocate strongly for increased Federal funding to family violence legal help. The Federal Government is set to slash funding to community legal centres by 30 per cent nationally in July 2017. More >

Federal cuts threaten response to family violence following royal commission, community lawyers warn

The potential for progress on tackling family violence following tomorrow's report of the Royal Commission into Family Violence will be threatened by Federal Government cuts to services critical to the family violence response, community lawyers have warned today. More >

Community lawyers head to Canberra seeking urgent action on legal assistance crisis

The Victorian Federation of Community Legal Centres is joining other community legal peaks today (Tuesday 15/3) to brief Federal MPs and call on the Federal Government to take urgent action in the Budget to reverse deep cuts and boost funding for free legal help. More >

Liana Buchanan appointed Victoria's new Commissioner for Children and Young People

The Federation of Community Legal Centres congratulates our executive officer, Liana Buchanan, on her appointment today as Victoria's new Commissioner for Children and Young People. More >

Federation close and 2016 open dates

The Federation of Community Legal Centres will close today, Thursday 24 December 2015, at 12.30pm. We will re-open at 9.00am on Monday 4 January 2016. We wish everyone a safe and happy break.For emergency assistance from police, fire services or ambulance in Victoria, call 000. For advice and support regarding family violence, call 1800 737 732. More >

Community Law News Summer 2015-16 out now

The Community Law News Summer 2015-16 edition is out now. The year has finished with many achievements by the Victorian community legal sector, and some significant challenges–notably the failure of December's Federal budget update to reverse planned funding cuts to centres, a challenge that will continue into the 2016 Federal Budget as we work with our state and national colleagues to campaign for resources to meet climbing unmet demand for legal help. More >

MYEFO fails women who need free legal help with family violence

The Federal Government's failure to restore cut funding to the free legal help women desperately need to secure intervention orders through the courts and to face the complex legal issues that flow from violence against women will put them at greater risk, according to the Federation of Community Legal Centres Victoria.'September's Women's Safety Package failed to make up the massive shortfall from broader Federal cuts to community legal centres, and now MYEFO has failed again as the Federal Government states it is committed to family violence action and a national intervention order scheme,' said Liana Buchanan, Executive Officer of the Federation of Community Legal Centres today. More >

Federal Government's family violence commitment 'in the balance', community lawyers say

The Federal Government's commitment to stopping family violence is in the balance, with doubts remaining over funding for free legal help for women through December's Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO), says the Federation of Community Legal Centres (Vic). More >

Federation welcomes new chair for 2015-16

Belinda Lo has been elected as the new chair of the Federation's committee of management for 2015–16.Belinda has worked as a community lawyer since 2001 following private practice and a role as a judge's associate. Bee has volunteered and worked with various community legal centres (CLCs) including Darebin, Youthlaw, Broadmeadows, Whittlesea, Fitzroy and Eastern CLC where she is the centre's current principal lawyer. More >

Family violence features in our latest wrap of the Federation in the media

Welcome to our occasional wrap of the Federation in the media. This issue features family violence, together with a range of other legal assistance issues on which the Federation also actively engages the media. As well as our own work with the media, the Federation offers media support to our member community legal centres and also works with partner organisations on related issues. More >

Advocate for LGBTI people takes out 2015 Tim McCoy Award

Anna Brown has won the 2015 Tim McCoy Award for outstanding work to promote and protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in Victoria, Australia and worldwide. More >

State Coroner heeds community legal centre recommendations

State Coroner Ian Gray has today heeded key recommendations from a joint community legal centre submission in his findings in the inquest of Sargun Ragi, which were handed down this morning.Sargun Ragi was killed by her partner in October 2012, and her death has prompted searching ques-tions about how the family violence system can better protect women who report a partner's violence to immigration authorities. More >

Annual report shows community legal centres achieving change together

The annual report for the Federation of Community Legal Centres shows 2014–15 was a year that saw the Federation and our member centres achieving change together.As highlighted in the Chairperson and Executive Officer's report, Victorian CLCs helped more than 150,000 people this year with serious legal problems related to their housing, debts, infringements, safety, relationship breakdown, and much, much more. More >

Eminent panel considers continuing Federal challenges to 'last resort' legal help

An eminent panel including Leader of the Australian Greens, Senator Richard Di Natale, Federal Labor MP Tim Watts, Magistrate Anne Goldsbrough and leading community lawyers will today (1.30pm, Melbourne) consider the value of 'last resort' free legal help by community legal centres, and key challenges that Victorian centres continue to face as they work daily to deliver justice for disadvantaged Victorians. More >

Victoria set for access to justice review

Following an election commitment, the Victorian Government yesterday announced an access to justice review spanning legal assistance services including legal aid, pro bono legal help and community legal centres. More >

State Government funding grants a welcome boost for community legal centres

The Victorian State Government has announced recipients of $3.2 million in grants to community legal centres through the Community Legal Centre Assistance Fund and the Family Violence Duty Lawyer Fund at an event held at West Justice Community Legal Centre this morning. More >

First decision of Cabinet on family violence a positive step but falls short for women seeking legal help to stay safe

This morning's announcement of a package of initiatives to tackle family violence, reflecting the first Cabinet decision of the Turnbull Government, is a positive indication of a greater focus on family violence but will still leave thousands of women without family violence legal help, according to the Federation of Community Legal Centres. More >

New leadership needed to end family violence

The appointment of Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister will be an empty change unless the Federal Government matches its claimed commitment to end family violence with action to fund services and respect their right to advocate.'For this change to be meaningful, we need strong leadership ensuring all women facing family violence can get free legal help from a community legal centre,' said Liana Buchanan, Executive Officer of the Federation of Community Legal Centres, today. More >

Community legal centres gather for national conference as new figures reveal severe impact of Federal Government cuts in Victoria

As community legal centres from around Australia converge on Melbourne for their national confer-ence this week, the full impact of Federal Government cuts has been revealed by new figures showing the projected funding for Victorian centres through to 2019-20. More >

Shine a light on 'patchwork' family violence legal system, community legal peak tells royal commission

Victoria's family violence legal system offers a 'patchwork response' that is sometimes dangerously threadbare through poorly funded legal help, inconsistent specialisation and insufficient risk management, the Royal Commission into Family Violence will hear this Wednesday (5 August) in evidence to be presented by the Federation of Community Legal Centres. More >

Legal services agreement signed amid serious ongoing concerns for community legal clients

A new National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance Services between state, territory and federal governments has been signed amid serious ongoing concerns over a failure to fully fund the justice gap, the impact of a significant national funding cut in 2017-18, and restrictions on advocacy campaigns by community legal centres on policy and law reform issues.'States and Territories have had little choice in signing this agreement, because it affected services delivered from 1 July. Despite its unfair conditions, not signing would have immediately affected thousands of vulnerable people,' said Liana Buchanan, executive officer of the Federation of Community Legal Centres, today. More >

Community Legal Centre Assistance Fund and Family Violence Duty Lawyer Fund grants now open

The Community Legal Centre Assistance Fund and Family Violence Duty Lawyer Fund grants are a government initiative to provide financial assistance to Victorian-based Community Legal Centres, Aboriginal Legal Services and/or other agencies. More >

Royal commission vital to family violence response, community lawyers say

A submission released today by the State peak for Victoria's 50 community legal centres has made more than 60 recommendations to the Royal Commission into Family Violence. More >

Community legal centres engage in family violence royal commission

The Federation and many of our member community legal centres are engaging in Victoria's Royal Commission into Family Violence.Community Law Blog will be posting related news and publishing centre submissions as they become available. More >

Vulnerability set to rise as Federal Government redefines legal help

The media spotlight on the 2015 Federal Budget may have dimmed, but its full impacts on the vulnerable are still very much on the line for those seeking free legal help.If you are facing family violence, trying to navigate family law, at risk from homelessness or tenancy issues, debt, fines, discrimination, or unfair treatment in the workplace, that could well mean you. More >

"Savings" from means-testing free legal help will increase the risk for women facing family violence

A Federal Government proposal to means test free legal help from community legal centres will increase the risk for women facing family violence, according to the Federation of Community Legal Centres.The proposal is included in a new funding agreement with States and Territories that Prime Minister Tony Abbott is expected to send to Premiers and Chief Ministers within days. More >

New restrictions on who can be helped will worsen the impact of deep cuts to community legal centres

The impact of deep Federal Budget cuts to free legal assistance will be increased by proposed new restrictions on who community legal centres can help under a new funding agreement, according to the Federation of Community Legal Centres, the State peak for 50 community legal centres in Victoria. More >

Deferred Budget cuts offer only short term relief for Victorians in need of free legal help

Despite the reversal of community legal centre cuts planned for Victoria in the next two years, the 2015 Federal Budget has failed to ensure that funding for legal assistance keeps pace with the growing need for free legal help among disadvantaged Victorians, according to State community legal peak, the Federation of Community Legal Centres. More >

Budget sees modest but welcome investment in free legal help for disadvantaged Victorians

The Victorian State Budget includes modest but welcome investment in free legal help for disadvantaged Victorians, according to State community legal peak, the Federation of Community Legal Centres. More >

Report recommends action to address PSOs exceeding powers and using excessive force

A report to be released on Friday by the Federation of Community Legal Centres has made eight recommendations to address serious concerns over Protective Services Officers exceeding their powers and using excessive force. More >

COAG commitments to act on domestic violence must include funding for services that fight it

COAG commitments to act on domestic violence will prove ineffective unless they include sustainable funding for the services that fight it, according to the Federation of Community Legal Centres (Victoria). More >

Reversal of legal service cuts draws broad media coverage

The Federal Attorney-General George Brandis yesterday announced the reversal of significant funding cuts to the legal assistance sector over 2015-16 and 2016-17 made as part of the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) process in December 2013.The reversal of funding cuts included community legal centres, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS), and State and Territory Legal Aid Commissions, but excluded Environment Defenders Offices, and the national Aboriginal legal peak NATSILS. Cuts planned for 2017-18 have also not been reversed. More >

Cuts reversal welcome relief, but future funding boost to legal services needed to fully protect the vulnerable

The reversal of deep cuts to legal assistance services announced today by Federal Attorney-General George Brandis has been welcomed by the Federation of Community Legal Centres, but the Victorian community legal peak has warned that a future funding boost is required to fully protect the most vulnerable.'We welcome the reversal of cuts that were already impacting 13 community legal centres in Victoria and 60 nationally, and the recognition from Government that centres play a vital role. There remains that the Productivity Commission has recommended a funding boost of $200 million to legal assistance services that were already chronically underfunded before these cuts,' said Liana Buchanan, Executive Officer of the Federation, today. More >

Case for funding overwhelming as Senate inquiry backs legal assistance services in the fight against family violence

Interim recommendations of a Senate inquiry to restore and significantly boost funding for legal assistance services to help tackle family violence have been welcomed by the Federation of Community Legal Centres, the peak body for 49 community legal centres in Victoria. More >

Federal cuts hit as community legal centres make the case for the vulnerable

Community legal centres have been in the national, state and local news as Federal Government cuts set to commence on 1 July begin to impact centres in Victoria and beyond.Murray Mallee Community Legal Service and Far West Community Legal Centre (NSW) have already experienced staff losses as a result of cuts that will particularly impact women at risk of family violence. ARC Justice, Brimbank Melton Community Legal Centre and Whittlesea Community Legal Service havealso been in the news in anticipation of impacts from the funding cuts. More >

One community legal centre wins back funding, but free legal help for vulnerable uncertain nationwide

Reinstatement of two-year funding to a single community legal centre by the Federal Government has been welcomed, but leaves 13 centres in Victoria and nearly 60 centres nationally with cuts commencing on 1 July and ongoing funding uncertainty, according to the Federation of Community Legal Centres (Victoria). More >

Federal Opposition commitment on family violence welcome

The Federation of Community Legal Centres has welcomed the announcement today of a $70m Federal Opposition initial investment to tackle family violence, including funding for legal services of $47.4m. Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has also committed to a national crisis summit, which has also been welcomed as a vital opportunity for coordinated national action on family violence. More >

Community legal peak supports law reform and advocacy with new guide

The peak for Victoria's 49 community legal centres has launched a guide supporting community legal centres' law reform and policy work, showing centres how they can advocate effectively to change unfair laws, policies and practices.'We're launching this guide today because we recognise - together with the Productivity Commission - that policy advocacy and law reform are an essential and irreplaceable part of the work of community legal centres. More >

Federal cuts to worsen high legal need of Indigenous Australians, researchers say

Federal cuts to Indigenous legal services and other legal centres will worsen underservicing of high legal need among Indigenous people around Australia according to a recently completed national research project undertaken by the Cairns Institute of James Cook University. More >

Australian of the Year Rosie Batty renews media focus on family violence

The announcement of Rosie Batty as Australian of the Year has renewed the media focus on family violence, and has highlighted the contradiction between the Federal Government's stated commitment to tackling family violence and its cuts to frontline services helping women at risk, including many community legal centres. More >

Policy shift, not better communication, needed to reverse family violence cuts and risk to women

Deep Federal cuts to community legal centres and advocacy restrictions will affect women and children at risk of family violence, and contradict the prime minister's claimed commitment to ending family violence in his announcement of Rosie Batty as Australian of the Year. More >

Federation 2014 close and 2015 opening dates

The Federation of Community Legal Centres will close from 12.00pm Wednesday 24 December 2014, and will re-open from 9.00am Monday 5 January 2015. More >

Community Law News Summer 2014-15 edition out now

Our final edition of Community Law for 2014 is out now with a comprehensive wrap of Federation, sector and member news, including links to audio and video. More >

Flemington and Kensington CLC takes out the 2014 Tim McCoy Award

Flemington and Kensington Community Legal Centre has taken out the prestigious 2014 Tim McCoy Award for its work redressing police violence - in particular in the case of Corinna Horvath, which this year was subject to a UN Human Rights Committee complaint in which Ms Horvath was represented by the centre. More >

Symposium and AGM reflect a strong year for community legal centres

Yesterday's Victorian CLCs Symposium 2014 and Federation Annual General Meeting reflected a strong year for community legal centres. Held at the Melbourne Town Hall, the events attracted around 160 people from the State's 50 community legal centres and from stakeholder organisations. More >

Victorian community legal centre symposium to explore courage, change and commitment to community

A symposium this Thursday at Melbourne Town Hall will explore community legal centres through the theme of courage, change and commitment to community.The Victorian CLCs Symposium 2014 will feature three plenary sessions complemented by panel discussions, workshops and project presentations, to be followed by the Federation's 2014 Annual General Meeting. More >

Family violence victims may miss out on legal help under proposed changes to intervention orders set for Parliament

Monday 13 October 2014. Legislation in Parliament this week responding to increased pressures on family violence courts means many victims of family violence will not get legal help unless Government increases funding, seven family violence peak bodies and statewide organisations said today. More >

Community legal centres are about making a difference, says Liana Buchanan

Friday 3 October 2014. Federation Executive Officer Liana Buchanan was recently interviewed by Centre for Innovative Justice Director, Rob Hulls, on the role and contribution of Victoria's 50 community legal centres. More >

New report recommends boost for employment legal help in Victoria

Thursday 2 October 2014. Putting the law to work, a new report released by the Federation of Community Legal Centres, recommends increased funding for free or low-cost legal help for employment law matters to address the limited services, high need and unmet demand in Victoria. More >

2014 Tim McCoy award open for nominations

The Trustees of the Tim McCoy Trust invite nominations for the 24th annual Tim McCoy Award recognising the work of individuals, groups or organisations within the community law or legal aid movement. More >

Police media comments must not prejudge investigation of police shooting fatality, lawyers warn

Wednesday 24 September 2014 - for immediate release. Comments by Victoria Police reported on ABC Online regarding last night's fatal police shooting out-side the Endeavour Hills police station contravene police guidelines by prejudging the investigation, and highlight the need for the independent investigation of police shootings, said Michelle McDonnell, senior policy adviser at the Victorian Federation of Community Legal Centres, today. More >

Community organisations congratulate Government on sexual offences changes but warn more is needed to make them work

Thursday 16 September 2014 - for immediate release. Twelve peak and specialist community organisations have congratulated the Attorney-General, Robert Clark, on proposed changes to sexual offences law which return to Parliament for debate today. More >

More legal help needed for family violence victims, community organisations say

Tuesday 16 September 2014 - for immediate release. Seven family violence peak bodies and statewide organisations are calling for increased funding of community legal services if legislation responding to increased pressures on Magistrates' Courts is passed. More >

Community Law News Spring edition out now

The Spring 2014 edition of Community Law News is out now. In this comprehensive issue, we look at what the National Census results show about Victorian CLCs, we chart the changing context for CLCs both in Victoria and nationally, we introduce new staff and new ways of communicating, and we update you on the Federation's extensive family violence and Smart Justice advocacy. You'll also find the latest on sector development, CLC accreditation, our Adaptive Leadership program, and the Law Graduate Scheme. We conclude the issue with a wrap of media activity, including a comprehensive round-up of Federation and Smart Justice media coverage. We hope you will be engaged and informed by this issue, and we welcome your feedback! More >

No More Deaths campaign seeks an end to family violence

On Monday 25 August, family violence advocates gathered on the steps of Parliament Victoria to launch the No More Deaths campaign. The campaign aims to make ending family violence a key issue at the 2014 Victorian State election. Last year in Victoria, 29 women and eight children died due to family violence. More >

Community Legal Centre Law Graduate Scheme 2015 now open for applications

Families say coronial changes will further weaken flawed system

Tuesday 5 August 2014 - for immediate release.Changes to Victoria's coronial system set for debate in Parliament as early as this week will weaken the capacity to prevent deaths and exacerbate families' distressing experience of inquests, according to state community legal peak, the Federation of Community Legal Centres. Significant flaws inproposed legislative amendments will be highlighted at a press conference to be held this morning (10.30am, Tuesday 5 August), when six families who have experienced the Victorian coronial system will share their difficulties negotiating the system through inquests into deaths from family violence,road trauma, home birth, psychiatric care and police shooting. More >

Federation launches new Community Law Blog

Friday 18 July 2014. The Federation has launched its new Community Law Blog to help you keep up with the latest news by reading, subscribing, and commenting on our posts. More >

Rosie Batty's brave story demands urgent change

Monday 14 July 2014. The story of Luke Batty's death to be told to 4Corners tonight by his mother Rosie Batty demands a decisive shift in action to stop violence against women and children around Australia, the Federa-tion of Community Legal Centres said today. More >

Access to justice gap hits Victorians, legal peak will tell Productivity Commission at Melbourne hearings

Tuesday 10 June 2014 - embargoed until 12.00am Wednesday 11 June 2014The Federation of Community Legal Centres will encourage the Productivity Commission to quantify the true scale and cost of addressing unmet legal need in Victoria when the Commission continues public hearings on access to justice in Melbourne on Wednesday (11 June). More >

Victorian Government set to break national commitment on violence against women

Monday 26 May 2014. The Victorian Government is set to break a national commitment on violence against women if it passes a flawed Bill due to be introduced into the Legislative Council next week.In an urgent letter to National MPs whose vote will be critical, the Federation of Community Legal Centres and ten family violence and sexual assault advocacy organisations have called for Clause 4 of the Crimes Amendment (Protection of Children) Bill 2014 to be amended or opposed. More >

Federal Budget draws criticism as community legal centres face cuts

Thursday 22 May 2014. Last week's Federal Budget has drawn strong criticism, including from the community legal sector, which received a further $6 million cut in addition to the $43.1 million cut to legal assistance services announced last December ($19.6 million from CLCs). More >

Criticism of legal action by community legal centres is misguided and undermines access to justice

Friday 9 May 2014 - for immediate release. Recent reports and editorials in the Herald Sun voicing strong criticism of legal action taken by community legal centres are misguided and undermine access to justice, according to State community legal peak, the Federation of Community Legal Centres. More >

Vic Budget falls well short on family violence

Tuesday 6 May 2014 - for immediate release. Today's Victorian State Budget represents a missed opportunity by the Victorian Government to com-mit vital justice investment to help the increasing number of women and children reporting family violence, according to State community legal peak, the Federation of Community Legal Centres. More >

Call to MPs to amend or oppose Failure-to-protect Bill targeting women facing family violence

Friday 2 May 2014 The Federation and ten family violence advocacy organisations have issued an urgent call to women Coalition MPs and Frankston independent, Geoff Shaw MP, to amend or oppose Clause 4 of the Crimes Amendment (Protection of Children) Bill 2014, which is set to go before the Legislative Assembly of the Parliament of Victoria next week. More >

A week of community legal issues in the media

28 February 2014. The Federation and our member community legal centres have been working on a range of issues in the media this week, including achieving justice for people with a disability who are victims of sexual assault, family violence, the mental health of prisoners, the abolition of suspended sentences, enforceable standards for rental housing and Victoria's excessive new anti-protest move-on laws, which are now before Parliament. More >

Rally opposes move-on laws that would hurt the vulnerable and limit the right to protest

Tuesday 18 February 2014. Expanded police move-on and exclusion laws now before State Parliament could be passed by the Legislative Assembly as early as this week. The laws will be opposed by a rally on Tuesday 18 February.State peak for legal centres, the Federation of Community Legal Centres, says the proposed laws will hurt the vulnerable, limit rights to democratic protest and should not proceed in their current form. More >

Healing community from Tyabb killings starts with working together to prevent family violence

14 February 2014. The Federation of Community Legal Centres has called for a focus on lessons for family violence prevention as agencies and communities work together to respond to the deaths of Luke Batty and his father in Tyabb this week. More >

Centres win funding to tackle family violence

11 February 2014. Federation members Women's Legal Service Victoria and inTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence have been successful in grant applications to Victoria Legal Aid for funding to tackle family violence. More >

Community Law News Summer 2013-14 edition out now

7 February 2014. The Community Law Summer Summer 2013-14 edition is out now and reports on legal assistance cuts and Australia's access to justice crisis, Victorian proposals for unnecessary and punitive new anti-protest laws, together with a full wrap of the Federation's policy, sector development and media engagement. More >

Federation opposes new anti-protest Bill

7 February 2014. 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. More >

Community legal peaks make case to Productivity Commission on access to justice

15 November 2013. The Federation of Community Legal Centres has joined with community legal peaks across Australia to make joint submissions to the Productivity Commission on access to justice.Set to report in April 2014, the Productivity Commission has been tasked with making recommendations to improve access to justice and equity of representation, including through the funding of legal assistance services. More >

AED Legal Centre wins Tim McCoy Award ahead of strong field

14 November 2013. The Association of Employees with Disability Legal Centre (AED) has won the 2013 Tim McCoy Award ahead of a strong field at the 26th Annual Tim McCoy Dinner, held at the Richmond Town Hall on Friday 8 November 2013. More >

New committee members elected, as AGM marks strong year

1 November 2013. The Federation's Annual General Meeting drew a broad audience of member centres and stakeholders to a Victoria University venue overlooking the Flinders Street station clock last Wednesday 30 October 2013. More >

AGM and annual report show another strong year for CLCs in Victoria

30 October 2013. The Federation of Community Legal Centres will today hold its Annual General Meeting and present to members an annual report documenting another strong year as the peak body for community legal centres in Victoria. More >

Tim McCoy Award 2013 calls for nominations

16 October 2013. Nominations are now open for the 2013 Tim McCoy Award, which recognises the work of individuals, groups or organisations within the community law or legal aid movement. More >

Callinan parole measures pose safety risk, says new response to review

Tuesday 17 September 2013. Some of the parole changes being considered by the Victorian Government pose a serious risk to community safety, according to a submission sent to Corrections Minister, Edward O'Donohue, in response to the Callinan review handed down in August. More >

Mental Health Legal Centre continues in new RMIT venture

9 September 2013. The Mental Health Legal Centre will continue despite being defunded by the Victorian Government, thanks to a new venture with the Centre for Innovative Justice at RMIT. More >

Planned Coalition cuts to Indigenous legal assistance indefensible

Friday 6 September 2013. A 20 per cent cut to Indigenous legal assistance Australia-wide hidden in the Coalition's election costings is indefensible, says the Federation of Community Legal Centres.Friday 6 September 2013. Legal assistance services are already significantly underfunded, but this cut will place at further risk disadvantaged Indigenous people who are already over-represented in the justice system, and who bear a disproportionate risk of harm and death in Australia's prison system. More >

Election wrap highlights access to justice

Tuesday 3 September 2013. With the Federal election just days away, we've gathered a few informative links to get you thinking about what's at stake for access to justice. We've included essential debates and commentary, as well as links to the Community Law Australia campaign, in which the Federation is an active partner. More >

Police comments pre-judge fatal shooting investigation, community legal peak says

Monday 26 August. Comments by Victoria Police reported in the Herald Sun regarding last night's fatal police shooting in Windsor contravene police guidelines by pre-judging the investigation, and highlight the need for the independent investigation of police shootings, says Michelle McDonnell, senior policy adviser at the Victorian Federation of Community Legal Centres. More >

Federation welcomes boost for outreach legal help to tackle family violence

13 August 2013. Outreach 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. More >

Wyndham Legal Service gets four-year funding boost

12 August 2013. Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus MP today announced a $480,000 funding boost over four years for Wyndham Legal Service. More >

New funding for Whittlesea Community Legal Service

12 August 2013. In an announcement today, a $50,000 State funding increase for Whittlesea Community Legal Service will support free community legal services in an area where Victoria Legal Aid acknowledges a "significant and growing legal need". More >

Federation welcomes Federal boost to Eastern CLC and new Yarra Ranges CLC

8 August 2013 New funding for Yarra Ranges CLC and boost to Eastern CLC welcome. More >

Landmark decision removes fear of costs from public interest appeal seeking independent investigation of police misconduct

5 August 2013. Nassir Bare, a young man of African background, will be protected from prohibitive legal costs in an appeal seeking independent investigation of alleged police misconduct, following a decision on Friday 2 August 2013 by the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Victoria. More >

High-rise fatality inquest leads our latest media wrap

1 August, 2013. The Federation and our member CLCs continue to feature strongly in the media. Our latest media wrap includes an inquest examining police involvement in a high-rise fatality, council rates recovery through the courts, taxi industry reform, drugs and crime, and prisons. More >

Federation welcomes Federal funding boost for Springvale Monash Legal Service

1 August, 2013. A Federal funding boost for Springvale Monash Legal Service announced today by Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus has been welcomed by the Federation of Community Legal Centres. More >

Double-bunking shows urgent need to reduce prison demand

On Tuesday 2 July 2013, The Age reported on plans to increase double-bunking in Victoria's Barwon Prison and Melbourne Assessment Prison amid concerns regarding increased violence, overcrowdiing in police cells, and pressure in a prison system experiencing marked population growth. Today our response was published in the Letters pages. More >

St Kilda Legal Service temporary closure and relocation

St Kilda Legal Service's site at 161 Chapel Street, St. Kilda known as the St Kilda Community Centre (SKCC), will close temporarily so that it can be refurbished to better accommodate the staff, volunteers and clients of both the SKLS and the Port Phillip Community Group (PPCG). More >

Loddon Campaspe and Goulburn Valley CLCs get welcome Federal funding boost

The Federation has welcomed today's announcement of a Federal funding boost to Loddon Campaspe and Goulburn Valley community legal centres. Today's announcement has also been welcomed by the Community Law Australia national access to justuice campaign. More >

PSOs, prisons, infringements and funding feature in media wrap

The Federation, our projects and our member CLCs continue to feature strongly in the media. Our latest media wrap includes concern over new holding cells at train stations as part of the PSO roll-out, the impact of imprisonment on reoffending, new approaches to infringements, and our call to restore funding for the Mental Health Legal Centre. More >

Government response to Fels welcome, but drivers remain exposed by poor insurance

The State Government's response to the Fels taxi inquiry has been welcomed by the Federation of Community Legal Centres. However, the State community legal peak has warned that a significant number of drivers remain exposed due to current insurance arrangements that leave many facing financial ruin when they find they are not fully covered for accidents. More >

Impact of Federal Court fee increases on access to justice for the vulnerable

The Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs is currently undertaking an inquiry into the impact that recent increases to federal court fees have had on access to justice in Australia. More >

Budget brings welcome boost to legal assistance

The Federation of Community Legal Centres has welcomed the boost for legal assistance services in the 2013 Federal Budget as a step in the right direction.-The allocation of $10.3 million to community legal centres, $30 million to Legal Aid and $12 million to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services will improve access to justice for people who can't afford a private lawyer,- said Federation Executive Officer Liana Buchanan today. More >

State community legal peak announces new head

The appointment of a new Executive Officer was announced today by Victorian community legal peak, the Federation of Community Legal Centres. Liana Buchanan will take up the role in April, and assumes the position following the earlier departure of former Executive Officer, Hugh de Kretser, who left to become Executive Director of the Human Rights Law Centre after six years as head of the Federation. More >

New report urges national reform of badly fractured coronial system

A new report to be launched by the ABC's Dr Norman Swan in Melbourne this morning urges comprehensive national reform of Australia's flawed coronial system (event starts 10.30am Wednesday 6 March - see specific speaker times below). More >

Mental Health Legal Centre defunding timeline

Here you will find links to letters, media releases and media coverage about Victoria Legal Aid's decision to defund the Mental Health Legal Centre, a specialist community legal centre providing independent mental health legal services to disadvantaged people living with mental illness in Victoria. More >

Community legal centres meet over VLA defunding of vital mental health legal service

The Federation of Community Legal Centres will today meet with the state's community legal centres to urgently consider a response to Victoria Legal Aid's (VLA) defunding of the Mental Health Legal Centre (MHLC).The VLA decision was announced last Thursday, and in a letter to the Federation last night, VLA indicated it will not reconsider the decision, on which the Federation has called for an immediate reversal. More >

Victoria Legal Aid cuts vital mental health legal service

The Federation of Community Legal Centres is calling for the immediate reversal of a decision late last week by Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) to cut funding for the Mental Health Legal Centre (MHLC), an independent community legal centre providing representation, advice and advocacy for people living with a mental illness in Victoria. More >

Legal Aid cuts spark serious concerns for community legal centres

A Victoria Legal Aid briefing yesterday sparked concerns that financial constraints on the State funding body are set to have serious flow-on impacts for Victoria's fifty community legal centres.An audience of community lawyers - including some attending via video link from regional Victoria - heard that new funding principles would be broadly applied to all State community legal centres in new agreements to be negotiated following a national legal assistance review now underway. More >

PSO firearm death highlights risk of armed officers

Last night's incident involving a Protective Services Officer outside State Parliament has highlighted fundamental safety issues around the presence of armed guards in public places, according to Vic-torian peak body, the Federation of Community Legal Centres. More >

Community lawyers urge action on Fels reforms

Community lawyers have written to Premier Ted Baillieu, urging him to adopt the proposals in the final report of the Victorian Taxi Industry Inquiry. Handed to the State Government on 28 September, the report was tabled in Parliament today. More >

Family seeks justice as inquest into 2007 death of Lynette Phillips is set to hand down findings

Family members and family violence prevention advocates are calling for strong recommendations that will help stop future deaths when Judge Jennifer Coate hands down her findings in the inquest on the 2007 death of Lynette Phillips from 2.00pm today at the Coroners Court of Victoria. More >

Councils too quick to sue over rates says new report

Victorian local councils are rushing unfairly to legal action to recover unpaid rates, despite legal protections guaranteeing rates revenue, the existence of effective alternative payment strategies, and the severe impact of legal action on disadvantaged ratepayers. This is the key finding of Council debt collection: Alternatives to suing ratepayers in hardship, a new report by the Federation of Community Legal Centres and Footscray Community Legal Centre to be launched today by Attorney-General and Minister for Finance, the Hon. Robert Clark MP. More >

Federation set for Tuesday Red Rose Rally

The Federation of Community Legal Centres will participate as part of an alliance of family violence prevention groups at tomorrow's Red Rose Rally from 1–2pm on the steps of the Victorian State Parliament. More >

Government response on young people in adult prisons manifestly inadequate

The response by the Victorian Government to media reports of young people under 18 being placed in Victoria's adult prisons is -manifestly inadequate-, according to the Federation of Community Legal Centres. More >

Urgent action needed on young people in adult prisons

Community legal groups have called for immediate action on vulnerable young people in Victorian prisons following a report by ABC 7.30 Victoria last Friday. The report detailed the placement of a 16-year-old Aboriginal young person subject to child protection in solitary confinement within the high security Charlotte Unit at the maximum security Port Phillip prison. More >

Demand for legal help mirrors national justice gap

On the eve of the release of a national legal needs survey, Victorian figures show rising demand for free legal help provided by the State's 50 community legal centres. The past five years have seen a 20 per cent increase in the demand for legal information, advice and casework provided by the centres, with family violence prevention work a significant driver of the 41 per cent of CLC work comprised by family law matters. More >

Family violence crime stats highlight need for government action

The release of Victorian crime statistics has highlighted family violence as a key a driver of crime rates across a range of offences, yet the Victorian Government is still failing to respond to increased reporting of family violence, or to properly support the State's Family Violence Death Review aimed squarely at prevention. More >

New report urges justice for taxi drivers

Strong recommendations to achieve a fairer and safer working environment for Victoria's taxi drivers are urged in a new report to be launched on Monday by Mr Brian Howe AO, chair of the Independent Inquiry into Insecure Work in Australia and a former deputy prime minister.With few legal rights and little bargaining power, taxi drivers work long hours in difficult and dangerous conditions while struggling to earn a basic wage. They exemplify insecure work and the shift of risk from employer to employee, with drivers bearing the obligations of employees but without their legal status or the protections they deserve. More >

Fairer deal for taxi drivers will improve standards

Community lawyers strongly endorse Fels taxi recommendations

$500m prison not safer or smarter in a tight Budget

Amid a tight State Budget, a coalition of legal and community groups says a $500 million commitment to a new prison continues a dangerous trend of ineffective and expensive prison expansion that will fail to prevent crime, tackle its causes, or rehabilitate prisoners so they are less likely to re-offend.-If the focus is on fiscal restraint, the least we should expect from the State Government is a focus on essentials and measures that work. On the evidence, the case for building further prisons instead of cheaper, more effective and safer alternatives has not been made,- Smart Justice spokesperson Hugh de Kretser said today. More >

Community lawyers call for FOI reform

PSO's arrive at Stations: Are Your Rights on Track?

Your Rights on Track believes the PSO rollout is flawed and risky and needs to be reconsidered. The group says there are real community safety concerns about the armed guards who have similar powers to police but have less training and supervision. More >

Federation plans Taskforce to respond to Tyler Cassidy Inquest

The Federation and other organisations propose the establishment of a Taskforce to drive a whole of government response to the inquest recommendations: Letter to Ken Lay, Chief Commissioner of Police More >

Prison jobs: a false economy

The Victorian Government's announcement of 1,500 jobs for prison expansion was today heavily criticised by the Smart Justice Coalition, a coalition of leading community and legal groups. More >

Training Session: Protective Services Officers begin in February

Opinion: NSW leads while Victoria makes mistakes

Lawyers call for better conditions for taxi drivers

Community lawyers call for stronger human rights protections

Coroner's findings highlight the need for better training to avoid future police shootings

Disaster Legal Help to Continue to Provide Legal Information to Victorian Communities

Legal group calls for independent inquiry into police response to Occupy Melbourne protest

Federation Annual Report 2010-11

Failing, not protecting the community: Armed PSOs apprehending people who 'appear to be mentally ill'

Giving armed Protective Services Officers (PSOs) on Melbourne trains powers to apprehend, by force, a person who hasn't committed a crime, but whom the PSO believes is mentally unwell, is an ill-conceived measure that will not address crime or safety. Rather, it will create fear in the community and a greater risk of fatal shootings. More >

The Human Rights Charter protects victims' rights

New report highlights need for community law salary increases

Community lawyers are significantly underpaid compared to their counterparts in the government and private sector, according to a joint submission lodged in the Fair Work Australia Community Sector Equal Pay Case. The submission, by the Victorian Federation of Community Legal Centres and Community Legal Centres NSW, calls for significant increases in community legal centre (CLC) pay rates. More >

New report highlights need for independent investigation of police related deaths

Victorian community legal centres responded to today's release of an Office of Police Integrity Report on investigating police related deaths by calling on the Victorian Government to establish an independent investigation system. More >

CLC report: An independent system to investigate police related deaths

The Federation together with the Human Rights Law Centre, Darebin Community Legal Centre and Flemington Kensington Community Legal Centre conducted analysis which highlights that establishing an independent investigation system in Victoria is achievable and would be transparent, fair and in the best interests of the public and police. More >

Victoria Law Foundation announces 2011 CLC Fellow

The Victoria Law Foundation Community Legal Centre Fellowship 2011 has been awarded to Michael McKiterick, Senior Lawyer at PILCH. More >

Vulnerable Victorians deserve a stronger charter of rights

After four years in operation, Victoria's Human Rights Charter is in for some close examination. Attorney-General Robert Clark has given a Parliamentary Committee the job of reviewing the charter. At times, the charter has attracted controversy, yet at its heart, it has quietly and surely been delivering better results for vulnerable Victorians. This review provides an opportunity to accelerate these outcomes. More >

State budget marred by axing of vital employment rights service

Victoria's only free specialist employment legal service, Jobwatch, is facing closure after today's State Budget confirmed its funding would end on 30 June. The vital community service assists around 11,000 Victorians each year. More >

Comments by police top brass highlight the need for independent investigation into police shooting

Last night's fatal police shooting in St Kilda exposes the need for the independent investigation of police shootings and highlights the pitfalls of a media-unit lead response, say legal and human rights groups. More >

Jobwatch facing closure due to funding cuts

Victoria's only free specialist employment legal service, Jobwatch, has received notice that the Victorian Coalition Government intends to cut its funding. The vital community service, which assistsaround 11,000 Victorians each year, faces closure by 30 June 2011 unless ongoing funding can be secured. More >

Community Legal Centre Fellowship now open

Opinion: Poor training and bad tactics to blame for police shootings

Free legal information for Victorians affected by the floods

Abolishing suspended sentences may increase crime

Smart Justice Media Release - Minimum Sentences

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