June 19, 2023 |
On 19 June, the Victorian community legal sector came together to launch its sector-wide 10-Year Plan.
The Plan provides a roadmap for Community Legal Centres to maximise meaningful impact over the next ten years. In it, we outline plans to strengthen existing areas of work and explore new horizons, while expanding and improving service delivery and amplifying advocacy.
The Plan was designed by Community Legal Centres, sector collaborators, and the people and communities that we work with in Victoria. It focuses on improving access to justice, strengthening our collective voice, showing our impact, growing the sector, and upskilling and supporting our people.
At the launch, we heard from a cross section of people who make up the Community Legal Centre community, including a former client of Eastern Community Legal Centre named Patricia*.
Patricia is a victim-survivor of psychological family violence, who was assisted by Eastern Community Legal Centre in relation to family violence matters. She is a strong advocate for Community Legal Centres and the work they do.
Patricia said: “My community lawyer helped me in ways I didn’t know I needed. People experiencing family violence often don’t recognise what is happening to them until it’s too late. Eastern Community Legal Centre supported me through my darkest days, and I’ll always remember the impact they had on my life.
“Community Legal Centres provide vital supports to people in dire need every day. I wanted to speak at the community legal sector 10-Year Plan launch because I want to use my experiences to support Community Legal Centres and to help others like me.”
Community Legal Centres provide free, quality legal information, advice, representation, casework and education, focusing on working with people who are experiencing disadvantage, such as financial hardship, family violence, homelessness or discrimination. We work in an integrated way with other community services and social service professionals to ensure the people we work with receive the right support to address their issues. Community Legal Centres use what we learn from the experiences of the people we work with to advocate for changes to laws and policies to make Victoria a fairer place for everyone.
The Federation of Community Legal Centres (Federation) is the peak body for Victoria’s 47 Community Legal Centres. The Federation’s CEO, Louisa Gibbs, said: “Our 10-Year Plan is both an opportunity and an impetus for Community Legal Centres to come together to increase impact over the next ten years.
“The Plan is a product of the time and effort of many people and organisations from across the sector, and I’d like to thank everyone who took part in its development.
“The Plan is well thought through and full of the creativity and passion that the sector is famous for. It articulates our aspirations for the future and how we will collectively address the opportunities and challenges facing the community legal sector in a unified, sustainable way, to better serve the Victorian community.
“I look forward to continuing to work collaboratively and innovatively with Community Legal Centres and our other stakeholders to implement our 10-Year Plan.”