The federal government has this week announced three new pilot programs to provide legal services for sexual violence victims and survivors aimed at improving our justice system, so it does not add to their trauma.
This includes an expansion of the state-wide Victims Legal Service (VLS) in Victoria, run in partnership across the legal assistance sector, which offers legal information and advice through a dedicated specialist helpline, and referrals to VLS providers across Victoria for ongoing casework.
Director Lucy Adams, Civil Justice, said, 'These expanded services mean we can better respond to the experiences of victims and survivors of sexual assault in their engagement with the legal system.'
The selection of programs for the pilot was informed by engagement with people who have lived experience of sexual violence, and the advocates and services that support them.
'It’s crucial that we continue to listen to the voices of victim survivors to shape services that support their recovery and reduce the harm of justice processes,' she said.
The VLS currently assists people who have suffered injury or loss because of a crime and need help to get financial assistance through the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal or to get compensation from the person who committed the crime.
The extended service will work in partnership with Women’s Legal Service Victoria and Djirra to provide tailored support for victims and survivors seeking to protect confidential communications during court proceedings. With Djirra, the model will also provide tailored support for First Nations victims and survivors to report sexual assault to police.
Reviewed 22 September 2023