Funding boost for mental health legal and non-legal advocacy services

Funding boost for mental health legal and non-legal advocacy services

Thursday, 20 May 2021

New funding in this year’s state budget will mean more Victorians will be able to receive earlier assistance for legal issues, including support for mental health, child protection and family violence.

‘We welcome the Government’s commitment to providing legal and non-legal support for Victorians facing compulsory mental health treatment,’ said Victoria Legal Aid CEO, Louise Glanville.

This includes making non-legal advocacy available through an opt-out system for all people subject to, or at risk of compulsory treatment orders, and an increase in legal representation for people appearing before the Mental Health Tribunal.

‘Every day our advocates from Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA) assist consumers to speak up about what they want and need from the mental health system, so we’re pleased to see the government acting on these important recommendations from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System,’ said Louise.

The budget also includes funding for:

  • additional child protection lawyers and support staff to meet increased demand
  • a new legal service to provide support and advice for victims of crime
  • additional responses to family violence, including extending the network of Specialist Family Violence Courts.

Child protection

Parents and children in the child protection system both benefit from early advice and support to understand their rights and responsibilities, so children can live in safe and happy homes.

We have received funding to provide additional child protection legal services, and to continue our Independent Family Advocacy and Support Service pilot, which provides non-legal advice and support to parents in the early stages of child protection involvement.

‘IFAS has been filling a gap in support for parents who often find the child protection system distressing and complex, so we’re pleased to receive funding for it to continue its important work,’ said Louise.

COVID-19 response

‘We also welcome the State Government’s recognition that the justice sector’s emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic requires an integrated approach, with funding for the courts, police and legal assistance,’ said Victoria Legal Aid CEO Louise Glanville.

We have worked collaboratively with our partners in the justice system to support people experiencing delays created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the Courts work to reduce the backlog as quickly as possible, we’ll continue our services to provide pre-court legal assistance, so people can feel more confident and prepared on their hearing date

Media enquiries

If you have a media enquiry please contact Naomi Woodley, Media, Communications and Engagement Manager on 0409 281 304 or at Naomi.Woodley@vla.vic.gov.au

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