Aboriginal community engagement officers

Aboriginal community engagement officers

We’re committed to building not only a workplace that is culturally safe for First Nations people, but also to ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can get the help they need to live fairer, better lives.  

Our Aboriginal community engagement (ACE) officers are a vital, and enormously effective, part of that work. The ACE officer is a non-legal role that provides a connection between the First Nations community and Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) services.  

'Traditionally, people come to VLA through our legal help line, our website, referrals or in the courts. We know that for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that model alone is simply not enough to get them the help they need.' – Alan Dewis, Associate Director, Aboriginal Services.   

Our ACE officers are established in three locations: Morwell, Shepparton and Mildura. They have been building connections with the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities for several years, and the results speak for themselves.  

Our ACE officer in Gippsland, Jess McDonald, speaks about her work with the Wulgunggo Ngalu Learning Place, near Morwell, joined by Shaun Braybrook, manager of Wulgunggo Ngalu.  

'At VLA we work with some really vulnerable people, and we need to ensure they feel safe. The ACE officer role offers a helping hand, and closes that gap between lawyer and client. Dealing with legal services, particularly for mob, can be really scary otherwise.' - Jess McDonald, ACE officer, Morwell.  

Vitally, the ACE officers exist to bring legal help not to people who have historically accessed VLA through existing channels, but those who have fallen through the gaps. Too often, Indigenous Australians don’t know where to look, or even know that their problems can be solved by a lawyer.  

By building a connection to community, and providing support to Aboriginal people in need of help, the ACE officer role is helping VLA give people who have missed out on support for too long get a chance to build a better life.  

More information  

Read more and apply for the new Indigenous positions at Victoria Legal Aid.  

Find out more about our Aboriginal employment and Aboriginal Clerkship Program

Read our Reconciliation Action Plan

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