Access and equity

Access and equity

We help people to deal with legal issues by ensuring that our services are accessible and appropriate to need.

Our initiatives focus on:

  • improving people's access to legal services and experience of the justice system
  • targeting legal assistance to people who experience, or are at risk of experiencing, social exclusion
  • prevention and earlier resolution of legal problems through education, information, advice and referral.
  • increased collaboration and co-operation between service providers in the legal sector
  • enhancing our capability to influence and respond to a changing environment.

Our work ranges from helping individual clients, such as providing information and advice over the phone, to benefitting the wider community through advocacy for justice and law reform.

Legal Help telephone service

This free telephone service provides people with help over the phone, including legal information, referrals to legal and non-legal services and, in appropriate cases, legal advice.

Callers receive a comprehensive assessment of their legal issue, have their options explained at the earliest opportunity, and are referred to the most appropriate forms of legal and non-legal assistance.

Client access

Access to our services is vital, particularly for individuals and groups within the community experiencing multiple disadvantage.

We work to ensure that our services are equitable and readily available for all Victorians.

Our reconciliation action plan sets out how we seek to improve access to legal services by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Community legal education

We provide community legal education to help build knowledge in the community about legal rights and responsibilities. Our focus is on early intervention to prevent legal problems from arising or escalating. This is undertaken through:

  • producing a range of plain-language publications and resources to help people work out their legal problems. Some of these are produced in languages other than English. We also produce videos about the law.
  • producing educational kits for community workers and teachers to present to specific audiences such as young people, older people, people living with a disability and people newly arrived to Australia
  • collaborating with organisations across Victoria and Australia to share resources, identify common issues and develop national community legal education strategies.

Community legal centres

Community legal services play a key role in improving access to justice in Victoria. We support them to provide excellent services through the effective administration of funding, good governance and our support of sector innovation.

We administer funding for 40 of the 51 community legal centres across Victoria and the peak body, the Federation of Community Legal Centres.

Justice and law reform

Through advocating for justice and law reform, we aim to improve the way laws operate and impact on the community.

We make submissions to parliamentary inquiries, advocate directly to government and the courts, run test cases to clarify points of the law, and collaborate with other organisations to affect positive change.

Our work in this area is heavily informed by our practice work in family, criminal, civil and administrative law, which helps identify opportunities for reform within the justice system.

Victorian Legal Assistance Forum secretariat

We support the work of the Victorian Legal Assistance Forum, which brings together Victoria Legal Aid, community legal centres, private lawyers and other key stakeholders to increase co-ordination of legal assistance services and improve service delivery to socially and economically disadvantaged Victorians.

As part of our commitment to this, we host the Victoria Legal Assistance Forum secretariat at our Melbourne office.