New and bigger legal service set to tackle family violence in the north-west

New and bigger legal service set to tackle family violence in the north-west

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

A new and bigger community legal service will this week celebrate its launch and introduce an exciting and innovative project set to tackle family violence in Melbourne’s north-west.

Northern Community Legal Centre is a new service created through the amalgamation of Broadmeadows Community Legal Service and Moreland Community Legal Service.

Victoria Legal Aid supported the amalgamation and will provide over $1 million in funding toward running it.

The legal services came together to better respond to the growing legal need and expanding population of the region. It will now service residents of the City of Moreland, the City of Hume and the Shire of Mitchell.    

Attorney-General the Hon Martin Pakula MP will launch the Northern Community Legal Centre and family violence project on Thursday 16 February at the Gladstone Park Shopping Centre.

In a bid to reduce family violence, the new centre is working with the Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court and the Broadmeadows Family Relationship Centre. They will identify low-risk family violence cases where parties can be assisted to resolve disputes that can sometimes lead to serious family violence – for example, disputes about parenting and who children get to spend time with.    

A Family Relationship Centre worker available at court books parties into the mediation process. They are then provided with priority family law advice before mediation, usually with the help of a Northern Community Legal Centre lawyer.

The State Government funded the Northern Community Legal Centre’s family violence project, as well as other services for people experiencing disadvantage and family violence. ​​

Victoria Legal Aid Executive Director Civil Justice, Access and Equity Dan Nicholson said:   

  • The funding we have provided to bring two legal services together acknowledges the very real challenges of meeting the growing and future needs for legal help in the north-west.
  • A bigger service will be better equipped to adapt to the future demand of the area.
  • We look forward to growing our partnership with the Northern Community Legal Centre so that we get legal help to the right people, in the right places, and for the right reasons.

Northern Community Legal Centre Chief Executive Officer Jenni Smith said:   

  • The funding provided by Victoria Legal Aid to merge these services will strengthen our presence in the north-west so that we can better keep pace with a growing population and the legal needs that arise from poverty and social dislocation in particular.
  • Bringing these two services together will strengthen our capacity to tackle not just family violence, but a whole range of often related issues than can spiral out of control without legal help.
  • The level of family violence in Hume and surrounding areas is one of the highest in Melbourne. Funded by the State Government, we hope that this model of integrating family law mediation into the family violence system will reduce the number of serious family violence incidents and breaches of interventions orders.

More information

​​To request free legal help through the new Northern Community Legal Centre or to find out more about its family violence project, call (03) 9310 4376 or visit www.northernclc.org.au

The Northern Community Legal Centre provides free and confidential legal advice and case work across a range of issues that include family law, family violence, infringements, motor vehicle accidents, divorce, crime, and debt and tenancy issues.