The impact of COVID-19 in 2020 has been immense.
It has affected every aspect of our lives in ways no one could have imagined.
The community legal sector is no different. The impact on our sector has been unprecedented. We have seen a sharp increase in the number of people accessing services and have had to adapt to changed working environments and service delivery to meet demand as well as government requirements.
To gain a better understanding of the actual impact on the sector, the Federation of Community Legal Centres commissioned Ernst & Young.
The report found significant impacts across the sector and anticipates ongoing financial burdens and limited ability to meet the ever increasing needs as government supports are removed and the full and ongoing impact of the pandemic becomes clear.
The report recognises that the free and holistic legal assistance provided by Community Legal Centres provides valuable early intervention by stopping the escalation of legal need and its associated individual and social consequences early.
It states that in the context of the COVID-19 crisis, investing in Community Legal Centres is essential in ensuring that the growing number of Victorians at-risk of experiencing legal problems and being unable to resolve them are able to access crucial support, and to avoid the otherwise escalating burdens placed on other parts of Victoria’s public and social safety net.
Download or read a full copy of the report here.
Federation of Community Legal Centres Director of Policy and Engagement, Shorna Moore, presented findings from the report, and responded to Government questions at a Public Accounts and Estimates hearing into the impact of COVID-19 in May, 2020.
You can view details of the hearing and a transcript of Ms Moore’s responses here.