Giving a voice to people from CALD backgrounds

Giving a voice to people from CALD backgrounds

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Senior Legal Help lawyer Ali Yildiz
Senior Legal Help lawyer Ali Yildiz

Assisting people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds in their interaction with the law is what drives our Senior Legal Help lawyer Ali Yildiz.

Ali’s Turkish background has proved invaluable in breaking down barriers with the Turkish community and their dealings with the law.

‘I find that people from Turkish backgrounds are more comfortable when speaking Turkish to me without the use of an interpreter, and my heritage enables me to quickly build a rapport with them.’

Victoria Legal Aid’s use of in-house interpreters plays a vital role in ensuring that our CALD clientele can access the law said Ali.

‘Some newer arrivals, especially those entering Australia as refugees, may have been living in refugee camps for long periods of time or be poorly educated and illiterate in their own language.

‘The main challenge for this group is the problem of accessing good quality interpreters, as often the only interpreter available for newly arrived groups may be a family member or someone who is inappropriate for the situation.'

The benefits of maintaining close relationships with CALD groups and providing intervention programs that deliver good outcomes for them was highlighted when Ali was working as a duty lawyer at Sunshine Magistrates' Court.

‘I noticed that many people from CALD backgrounds were being sued for unpaid rates by Councils because they did not understand how to pay their Council rates, or could not pay their rates due to financial hardship.

‘I addressed this systemic issue by conducting workshops with people from CALD backgrounds and liaising with local Councils to make them aware of the issues faced by CALD groups.’

More information

Victoria Legal Aid offers a range of legal assistance to CALD groups via our language line interpreters.

To access an interpreter call Legal Help on 1300 792 387 and for more information see Get help in your own language

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