Making our services more inclusive

Making our services more inclusive

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

We’re changing our client forms and databases to make our services more inclusive and respectful to trans and gender-diverse clients.

‘We are committed to providing safe and inclusive legal services to all clients and these changes will bring us in line with best practice in LGBTIQ+ inclusion,’ said Aimee Cooper, Program Manager, Equality Law Program at Victoria Legal Aid.

‘When we use trans and gender-diverse inclusive language in our everyday work, we demonstrate respect to trans and gender diverse communities, we build trust between our organisation and trans and gender diverse communities, and we start to address the discrimination trans and gender diverse people face.’

From early November, our client forms and databases will be updated to include new options for gender identity and title. There will be the option to record a gender-neutral prefix (Mx) and three new gender identity options:

  • trans and gender-diverse
  • self-described
  • prefer not to say.

Our staff will record the name and gender given to them by clients wherever possible, whether legally changed or not, unless the client is applying for a grant of legal assistance. For a grant we have an obligation to record the client’s legal name.

Aimee said it is important to avoid making assumptions about a person’s gender identity and our staff will be encouraged to ask new clients about their gender identity as part of their everyday intake practice.

‘We want to make every effort to ensure the information we’re recording about our clients reflects who they are,’ Aimee said. 

‘It can be alienating and distressing for people when forms and systems don’t reflect who they are, and these changes are an important step in addressing that. We want our clients to feel safe, supported and included at all times when using our services.’

Information for private practitioners

  • When recording a client’s details to provide them with legal assistance, remember to ask the client about their gender identity and avoid making assumptions. It may be helpful to outline the gender options on our forms.
  • As part of these changes, two of the gender options currently available on our forms and databases – ‘not applicable’ and ‘indeterminate, intersex or unspecified’ – will be removed. You may be prompted to change these in the ATLAS database where they have been recorded for existing clients.

More information

Read the Victorian Government’s LGBTIQ+ inclusive language guide.

Read about sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination.

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