Disaster Legal Help Victoria steps up after Docklands fire
Disaster Legal Help Victoria steps up after Docklands fireWednesday, 10 December 2014
The legal assistance sector was quick to step up and assist hundreds of people forced to flee their homes in the recent apartment fire at Docklands last month.
The fire left about 400 people without accommodation, clothing and documents, many of them tenants, including international workers and students.
Disaster Legal Help Victoria – a consortium of six of the main legal assistance providers in Victoria – helped clients with a range of issues relating to insurance, tenancy, employment and migration. Legal assistance providers helping residents via a relief centre included Victoria Legal Aid, Inner Melbourne Community Legal and the Consumer Action Law Centre. In addition, more than 50 people received assistance via phone by calling Victoria Legal Aid's Legal Help service or the dedicated Disaster Legal Help Victoria phoneline, also managed by Legal Help.
The Disaster Legal Help Victoria service provides free, timely and accessible legal help in the event of a crisis, and helps alleviate additional stress stemming from legal issues following a disaster.
Associate Director Access and Equity Annie Tinney said Disaster Legal Help Victoria was an important service in the wake of emergencies, be they across the state or more localised.
‘When we consider disaster relief, we often think of responses to large-scale disasters such as the Black Saturday bushfires or massive rural floods.
‘However, Disaster Legal Help Victoria also offers assistance with more small-scale incidents such as the Docklands fire.
‘I am very pleased that we were been able to draw on the expertise of some of Disaster Legal Help Victoria’s partner agencies to form a strong and complementary team that could assist people with their immediate legal needs.
‘We will continue to monitor the situation and see how we can offer further assistance to fire-affected residents in the coming months.'