Settled and Safe

Settled and Safe

With initial funding from the Legal Services Board grants program, we have developed Settled and Safe: a collaborative project to prevent family violence in newly emerging culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

About the project

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Settled and Safe is designed to increase awareness of family law family violence and child protection in newly emerging communities by:

  • increasing settlement service providers’ knowledge of family violence, Victorian legal responses to family violence, and Victoria Legal Aid services
  • collaborating with settlement service providers to deliver legal information sharing programs to newly emerging communities
  • increasing our organisational responsiveness to newly emerging communities, with a particular focus on the prevention of family violence.

Victoria Legal Aid has vast experience in helping Victorians with their legal problems. We know that people from newly emerging communities can find it difficult to understand the Australian legal system and they do not generally access legal services.

Many people starting new lives in Victoria arrive from countries with very different laws and systems governing family relationships and family violence. While adjusting to the challenges of a new life in Australia, family relationships can come under pressure. This pressure can be heightened where families have experienced trauma and dislocation.

Project aims

Settled and Safe aims to help people from emerging communities become more confident about their legal rights and responsibilities around family relationships. It includes information about Commonwealth family law, Victorian laws regarding child protection and family violence intervention orders.

We wanted to learn more about the settlement experience and the legal needs of newly emerging communities in order to help these communities get legal help early.

Project design

Settled and Safe recognises the importance of different cultural contexts. The law is cultural. Legal cultures can be examined by contrasting different legal systems and comparing the system in Australia to the system in the country of origin of people doing the training.

Family violence does not discriminate. It is experienced by victims regardless of their race, religion, ethnicity, culture, age, education level, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status.

When designing Settled and Safe, we recognised that family violence is an issue for everyone. Through Settled and Safe, we gained valuable information about the barriers faced by members of newly emerging communities when accessing legal information or legal assistance.

Training 

We have developed a training package for legal service providers to engage with organisations who assist newly emerging communities.

Read more about the Settled and Safe training.

Project participants

Organisations that have participated in the project include:

  • Eastern Migrant Information Centre
  • AMES Australia
  • Life Without Barriers
  • Whittlesea Community Connections
  • Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
  • ERMHA
  • Dandenong West Primary School 
  • Save the Children
  • Diversitat
  • GippsTAFE
  • La Trobe City Council
  • La Trobe Community Health Service
  • Southern Migrant and Refugee Centre
  • Spectrum Migrant Resource Centre
  • UnitingCare Cutting Edge (Shepparton)
  • Victorian Immigrant and Refugee Women’s Coalition.

In addition, the following organisations have provided important project guidance:

  • Brotherhood of St Laurence
  • Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health
  • Men’s Referral Service.