Making a START to improve access to family law, family violence and child protection legal services

Making a START to improve access to family law, family violence and child protection legal services

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

To help more people get earlier assistance for family law, family violence and child protection concerns, we want to work with the legal and community sectors to develop and test a new, web-based screening, triage and referral tool.

The START project fulfils a commitment from our Family Law Legal Aid Services Review to improve the way we work with community service organisations to help community workers identify legal issues and refer their clients for appropriate support.

‘We’ve listened to feedback from the community sector that they would like an intuitive tool, which steps through the process of identifying legal problems and making referrals, without the need for extra training,’ Victoria Legal Aid’s Executive Director of Family, Youth and Children’s Law, Nicole Rich said.

‘By tapping into the expertise of the legal assistance sector and community organisations, we hope to create a pilot tool which will lead to more people having their family law problems resolved at an early stage.’

This project is part of Victoria Legal Aid’s organisation-wide commitment to investigate the use of technology to significantly improve the accessibility of our services for clients.

A basic version of the tool will be developed and trialled during this project with lawyers and community workers testing possible models.

START will then be evaluated in the second half of 2019 to determine if it should be further developed.

‘To ensure Victorians can get the legal help they need, when and where they need it, it’s important to trial targeted and innovative projects like START to test new approaches to working together,’ Ms Rich said.

‘We don’t want to assume START will work for the community sector without testing it on the ground first as a pilot tool. If the START project is successful it won’t replace existing triage tools already in use by the legal and community sectors, but it will be another way to increase access to legal assistance for those most in need.’

Information session

We will be holding an information session about the START project for the community and legal sectors on 3 April 2019 at our Bourke St office in Melbourne.

Places will be limited, so, to register your interest, please contact project co-ordinator Hilary Molinia at by 27 March 2019.

More information

Read more about our Family Law Legal Aid Services review.


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