Funding boost to keep community legal centres on the frontline of COVID-19 response

May 09, 2020 |

The Federation of Community Legal Centres has welcomed the Victorian Government's investment of $17.5 million in frontline legal assistance.

The community legal sector supports people to access justice, including women and children experiencing family violence, tenants unfairly facing eviction, people targeted by consumer scams, and those that have unfairly lost their jobs.

Since the COVID-19 crisis began, demand for community legal help has increased and delivering services within isolation measures has been more challenging.

Director of Policy and Engagement, Shorna Moore, said this announcement would help community legal centres meet this demand.

“This investment will ensure community legal centres can assist many more Victorians facing hardship and grappling with legal problems."

"Right now, victims of family violence are isolated and at serious risk. We know they need our help to obtain an intervention order, and make safe arrangements for their children."

"Renters need our help keeping a roof over their heads. People who have lost their jobs need our help to exercise their employment rights and get fair payment."

"This funding will ensure community lawyers can help keep people safe, in stable housing and in a stronger economic position."

"Community legal centres are experts at reaching people most in need. We work alongside health and social services to address people’s social and legal problems together. This means problems aren't left to snowball, and people can receive all the help they need, avoid crisis and get back on their feet."

Community legal centres have adapted their services to ensure they can reach people in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. The additional funding will support these changes, such as telephone, virtual and remote services.

Demand for legal assistance will remain at elevated levels during the post-crisis recovery period, as restrictions and stimulus packages come to an end, but financial pressures remain. Community legal services are essential for Victorians to recover and thrive in the long term.

The Federation of Community Legal Centres also commends the Victorian Government for supporting a further three integrated community justice partnerships, by investing an additional $575, 000 as part of the government’s Integrated Services Fund.

“These innovative services will support people seeking asylum, newly arrived communities and women, groups that face serious disadvantage and complex legal problems. This funding will enable community legal centres to provide expert legal assistance to help people uphold their rights, access justice and thrive."

"We are pleased the government understands the impact this crisis has had on Victorians and is providing the support they need."

Announcement of $17.5 million in funding for community legal centres and legal assistance sector

Victorian Attorney-General Jill Hennessy MP announces $17.5 million in additional funding to community legal centres and legal assistance sector. This funding boost means more Victorians will get the legal help they need to be safe from violence, keep a roof over their head, stay afloat financially, resolve family disputes, and sort out other legal issues. Thanks to both the Federal Government and Victorian Government for recognising the importance of free, independant and local legal assistance during the health crisis. Source: 9 News Melbourne

Posted by Federation of Community Legal Centres Victoria on Sunday, May 10, 2020

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