Settled and Safe soon to regroup for workers forums

Settled and Safe soon to regroup for workers forums

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Settled and Safe community liaison educators will regroup throughout December to strengthen links between settlement services and Victoria Legal Aid and create better referral pathways for members of newly emerging communities.

Victoria Legal Aid Family Violence Education Coordinator Allyson Foster said that the Settled and Safe project has reached into a wide range of marginalised communities that have a real thirst for learning more about the law.

‘Its aim is to help people from newly arrived communities learn more about Australian laws and how they intersect with family relationships.

‘So far we’ve delivered training sessions for 125 settlement workers in four regions and run information sharing sessions for over 250 people from newly arrived communities.

‘In the process we’ve involved 17 organisations that work with these communities, including the Victorian Immigrant and Refugee Women’s Coalition, Spectrum Migrant Resource Centre, Latrobe Valley Community Health and the Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria.’

Communities that have benefited from the information sharing sessions run with settlement workers include:

  • the Hazara of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan
  • Iranian
  • Iraqi
  • South Sudanese
  • the Zomi, Hakha Chin and Karen communities of Burma
  • Chinese
  • Indian
  • Afghani.

Settled and Safe has been running throughout 2013, with sessions commencing in March in Morwell, Shepparton, Dandenong, Ringwood and Melbourne.

Allyson said that the workers forums to be held throughout December will pool together the learnings from each region.

‘What we see as the big strength are tighter relationships that have grown in having worked alongside settlement workers and engaged with so many different organisations and members of newly emerging communities.

‘The upshot is that, extending beyond the lifespan of the project, more people from some of the most highly marginalised communities in Victoria will know how to identify a legal problem early and where to go to for help,’ Allyson said.

Family lawyer in Shepparton, Emma King, said that she was pleased with the response so far and had been overwhelmed by the genuine interest from people who had not previously felt connected with their rights and the law.

‘For some, the project has also enhanced or established new social connections. One Iraqi woman told me that I was the first person from outside her community to ask her out for coffee,’ she said.

Victoria Legal Aid thanks the Legal Services Board for funding Settled and Safe through its Grants Program and the commitment and interest of settlement workers in this partnership.

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