Legal Help Chat offers a new starting point for legal assistance

Legal Help Chat offers a new starting point for legal assistance

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Graphic image of legal help chat

We have launched a live chat service on the Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) website to give people another, convenient way to start getting help with their legal problems.

Legal Help Chat is run by staff from Legal Help, which already operates a phone line that answers more than 130,000 calls a year.

‘The live chat service is run by real people – this isn’t a robot,’ said Jon Cina, Associate Director of Access and Equity.

‘If you have a legal question and you live in Victoria, you can use Legal Help Chat to get general information.

‘We can also connect you to other organisations who might be able to help, or provide details on how to speak to a lawyer on our phone line if you need more tailored advice and ongoing representation,’ said Jon.

Legal Help Chat is an alternative starting point for people who can’t use the phone or might not want to call or go to a Legal Aid office.

‘We know it is important to give clients choice in how they can get in touch with Victoria Legal Aid,’ said Jon.

Responding to demand

We have been testing Legal Help Chat to see if it makes it easier for Victorians to get access to legal help.

In the first nine months of operation, 7,758 people used the service, and the average number of chats each week has grown to about 500 per week.

‘We were able to answer around 84 per cent of chats, compared to 72 per cent of calls to our phone line and the wait time on the chat service is much shorter than the phone line,’ said Jon.

Since the start of July, the answer rate for chats has increased to 89 per cent, compared to 64 per cent on the phone line.

'That means this new service is increasing the community’s access to assistance with their legal needs,’ said Jon.

‘Already client satisfaction for the chat service is higher, at 80 per cent, than the 70 per cent recorded for our phone service.’

We are now adding extra staff to the chat service and expect demand from the community to continue to grow.

A service for clients

Legal Help Chat is a service for people who need assistance with Victorian legal issues.

We are focusing on how the chat service can best help our clients, so at this stage, we can’t use Legal Help Chat to answer queries from other organisations, practice partners or Victoria Police.

If you are from one of these organisations, please contact the office in your local area for information from Victoria Legal Aid.

More information

Read more about how to get help online with Legal Help Chat.

Read more about the legal information we have on our website.

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