New phone line to provide additional support for clients at Specialist Family Violence Courts

New phone line to provide additional support for clients at Specialist Family Violence Courts

Monday, 13 September 2021

We have set up a new legal information and referral phone line for court staff, lawyers, police and specialist support services assisting people at the Frankston and Heidelberg Specialist Family Violence Courts (SFVC).

Our SFVC phone line is designed to assist professional staff working within the Frankston and Heidelberg SFVC’s to help people to access legal information and referrals.

Calls that come through the SFVC phone line will be assisted by Victoria Legal Aid's (VLA) Legal Help team as a priority.

We know that when a person has a family violence legal problem, they often have other associated legal and non-legal issues that they may need help with. The SFVC phone line was created to help professionals working at these SFVCs provide people with targeted information and referrals that suit their legal needs to avoid the “referral roundabout”. 

Who can use VLA’s SFVC phone line?

Professionals within the Frankston and Heidelberg regions can use this phone line such as:

  • court staff at SFVC locations
  • applicant and respondent practitioners at SFVC locations
  • local family violence services and community organisations
  • lawyers from community legal centres and private practitioners
  • members of Victoria Police.

VLA’s SFVC phone line is not intended to replace or duplicate any existing referral pathways but to fill gaps when a professional is not sure who is the best referral option for the person they’re assisting.

What types of legal and non-legal issues can I call about?

If you are not sure where to refer your client for their legal or non legal problem, then VLA’s SFVC phone line is for you. You can make a warm referral with your client present. The phone line has been created to provide people with tailored information and referrals about any legal and non-legal issues they may be experiencing in addition to their family violence problems.

VLA Legal Help officers will be able to provide information and referrals to support services as well as referrals for legal advice and legal appointments.

These legal and non-legal referrals and information can include areas of law such as:

  • family law
  • child protection
  • criminal law
  • tenancy
  • migration
  • fines or infringements.

Where possible, we encourage professionals to call the line with their client present.

How do I contact VLA’s SFVC phone line?

VLA’s SFVC phone line is a priority phone line with reduced wait times open from 8.45 am to 5.15 pm Monday to Friday on 03 8595 3478.

If the person you are assisting is not with you at the time, you can email their details to SFVCLegalHelp@vla.vic.gov.au and a Legal Help officer will respond.

It is expected that when professionals contact the SFVC service via email without the person they are assisting present, that they have obtained their consent.  In that instance, Legal Help will accept that the referring party has fulfilled their consent obligations and will contact the person on the number given.

More information

Read more about the way we’re delivering legal services at the Specialist Family Violence Courts

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