Insight and engagement – how community legal education strengthens community relationships

Insight and engagement – how community legal education strengthens community relationships

Monday, 21 June 2021
Lawyer Sara Mac smiling and wearing a black top and orange jacket and Legal Help Lawyer Mabior Mapieu smiling and wearing a blue shirt.
L–R: Lawyer Sara Mac and Legal Help Lawyer Mabior Mapieu

We recently presented a professional development session to Junubi Wyndham, a community organisation which supports young South Sudanese people and their families in the outer south-western suburbs.

The session was timely with the start of Refugee Week, which aims to raise awareness of the issues affecting refugees, and gives the broader community insight into the challenges they can face.

Community Legal Education (CLE) Coordinator, Mark Tregonning coordinated the session, which was presented by Legal Help Lawyer, Mabior Mapieu and Sara Mac from our Emerging Lawyers Program.

In a comprehensive presentation, Mabior and Sara educated Junubi staff about laws concerning family violence and Centrelink debt as well as topics including the Drug Court, Apprehended Violence Orders and family law.

Mabior believed the session was a win/win for both parties.

‘By participating in this CLE session, I was able to gain insight into the legal issues being faced by the local South Sudanese community, and advise Junubi on how they could assist their clients with their problems. In turn, Junubi learned about the services we offer, and how they could refer their clients to utilise our services,’ said Mabior.

Mark also thought the presentation benefited both organisations.

‘We have built a strong relationship with Junubi staff that we hope will lead to better outcomes for their client base. Expected outcomes are earlier and more effective referrals to Victoria Legal Aid, as well as an increased capacity for Junubi staff to pass on accurate legal information to their clients.’

The session underpins our commitment to our Client-first strategy which puts people with legal needs at the centre of all our work and thinking, and commits us to becoming more client centred in everything we do.

It also reinforces our dedication to our Strategy 22 document, making our clients’ diverse needs a priority, and deepening our relationships with our clients and community partners.

A strong supporter of early intervention and community engagement, Sara is a strong advocate of the benefits of CLE work.

‘I believe that we can better assist South Sudanese communities by continuing to engage and foster direct relationships with community members and those who work closely with them, including Junubi Wyndham.

‘Community legal education is a critical element for ensuring effective social justice, and is best achieved by getting insight and addressing the needs of those who are most vulnerable,’ she said.

More information

Read more about how we provide community legal education to the community.

Learn more about our past community education projects

Subscribe to our Community Legal Education Update newsletter

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