Helping more, complex clients
Helping more, complex clientsWednesday, 1 March 2017
Victoria Legal Aid has seen an increase in the number of socially and economically disadvantaged people seeking help.
The 2016–17 midyear report shows we assisted 51,798 unique clients in the first six months of operation, an increase of 3 per cent since the same time last year.
The report highlights a growth in the level of disadvantage amongst clients. There was a 2 per cent increase in the number of clients who had no income and a three per cent increase in clients who were in custody, detention or psychiatric care.
Managing Director, Bevan Warner, says many clients are presenting with a growing number of complex legal and non-legal issues.
‘Our clients are increasingly disadvantaged. We aim to not only help them with their legal needs, but also connect them with non-legal services via referral pathways,’ Bevan said.
The strong demand for legal services is growing faster than expected. With additional police and child protection workers, additional family violence reports and changes in the law – our capacity to help those in need is being outweighed by the number of people who now qualify for help.
As Bevan explains, the increase in service delivery means we are spending more money than we are receiving.
‘We are forecasting a deficit in the order of $8 million, however, many external factors beyond our control will influence the final figure,’ Bevan said.
‘This impending deficit is not unexpected. We can absorb the deficit in the short term, but not in the longer term.
‘Additional government revenue is vital to ensure we can cope with the demand now and into the future. If we don’t receive additional funds, there will need to be changes to our eligibility guidelines and service delivery model.’
This is the first-time we have published midyear results, in an effort to be more transparent and accountable.
Download the 2016–17 midyear report
If you have a media enquiry, please contact Daisy Smith on 0427 916 923.