Lending expertise to a forum on the African Australian experience of family law

Lending expertise to a forum on the African Australian experience of family law

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Victoria Legal Aid Westernport regional managing lawyer Elissa Scott will this Thursday 20 March take part in a panel discussion exploring the challenges that African migrants in Australia experience.

The forum is hosted by the Family Law Pathways Network and entitled The African Australian community within family law – access and equality.

Elissa Scott and fellow panelists MyriaD Consultants managing director Maria Dimopoulos and CatholicCare Western Region Settlement Services team leader Terefe Aborete will follow a keynote address by the highly-regarded Dr Yusuf Sheikh Omar.

Dr Yusuf Sheikh Omar is a researcher at the Victorian Transcultural Mental Health Unit of St Vincent's Hospital and an affiliated member of La Trobe University's Centre for Dialogue where he co-convenes the Somali Youth Dialogue, a joint project with Mogadishu University.

Family Law Pathways Network Project Administration Officer Taegan Holford said that the forum would explore how newly arrived Africans experience Australian family law, the barriers they encounter in getting legal help, and the many challenges they can face in adjusting to a different culture.

‘It will provide a much needed platform for service providers and professionals to discuss the needs of the immigrant African community within the family law context,' Ms Holford said.

‘Attendees are sure to hear important discussion on current themes within family law and practical advice on how to assist the African Australian community.'

Elissa said that the focus of the forum is something that Victoria Legal Aid has had a lot to do with in recent times.

‘We’ve learnt so much off the back of the Settled and Safe project, which showed that people from new and emerging communities often find it hard to understand the Australian legal system.

‘Through this and various community legal sessions we have run, we have found that African communities are very receptive to learning more about the law.

‘Many have few links in the broader community and do not know how to get help to keep safe from family violence,’ Elissa said.

‘The forum will be a terrific opportunity for professionals to work together better to support the African Australian community.’

Event details

When: Thursday 20 March, 3 pm to 5 pm.

Where: Registry Conference Room, Dandenong Family Court, 53–55 Robinson Street, Dandenong.

Places are limited. Please RSVP to Family Law Pathways Network Greater Melbourne Project Officer Liese Savage on vicpathwaysmelb@ccam.org.au or 0457 127 554.

More information

Family Law Pathways Network

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