Information for lawyers

Tackling family violence in more ways than one

Acting Family Violence Program Manager Gayathri Paramasivam has tackled the confronting subject of family violence for the past four years, on the back of 10 years working in the community legal sector.

She first became interested in working with vulnerable people at the Women’s Legal Service Victoria, where she helped victims in serious and harrowing childhood sexual assault cases, as well as women and children who had been subjected to family violence.

Eligibility guidelines continue to prioritise criminal law clients with a cognitive impairment

We are committed to ensuring that people with a psychiatric or intellectual disability or an acquired brain injury are a priority for intensive legal services, and we assess their needs carefully so they receive targeted services.

One misconception about recent changes to eligibility guidelines is that people in this vulnerable client group who are charged with criminal offences miss out on legal assistance. These clients are eligible for the following assistance and services:

Changes for independent children's lawyers

Following the introduction of changes to our eligibility guidelines that became effective on 8 April, instructing fees for independent children’s lawyers in family law trials are no longer available. This includes matters that are listed for trial on or after 8 April 2013 where legal assistance was put in place before that date.

For all grants of legal assistance that are put in place on or after 8 April, it is a condition of assistance that an independent children’s lawyer act as a solicitor advocate at a family law trial unless one of the exceptions is met.

Family law matters

Family law practitioners are asked to note:

  • eligibility for family law trials and interim contested hearings, and
  • new conditions for family law funding.

See below for more information.

Eligibility for family law trials and interim contested hearings

A grant of legal assistance for representation at family law trials (by counsel or lawyer) is only provided where the other party is represented, either privately or through pro bono assistance.


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