Victoria Legal Aid

New partnerships to extend vital family violence support

We are pleased to announce the legal and non-legal services that will be partnering with Victoria Legal Aid as we roll out the Family Advocacy and Support Services program across Victoria.

Thursday 4 August 2022 11:24pm

We have established multiple new partnerships to expand Family Advocacy and Support Services (FASS) across the state and provide more legal advice and support at court for those impacted by family violence.

The organisations will partner with us to deliver duty lawyer services, family violence support services and mental health support services at circuit locations of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCOA) throughout Victoria.

FASS is an integrated service providing duty lawyer services and holistic social supports for people impacted by family violence with matters in the family law courts, including by linking clients with accommodation, financial counselling and drug and alcohol support services.

In last year’s budget, the Australian Government dedicated $85 million over three years to expand the national FASS program.

For Victoria, this means the FASS program will be established at FCFCOA circuit locations in:

  • Geelong
  • Warrnambool
  • Ballarat
  • Bendigo
  • Shepparton
  • Mildura
  • Morwell.

The FASS program will continue at FCFCOA permanent registries in Melbourne and Dandenong, with the funding enabling the addition of mental health supports at all locations.

Implementation of the FASS expansion project is underway, with FASS services anticipated to commence at FCFCOA circuit locations from late September 2022.

Our new FASS partners

Following competitive expression of interest processes, we will be partnering with the following service providers as part of the FASS program over the next three years until 30 June 2025:

  • Relationships Australia Victoria to provide mental health supports at all FCFCOA circuit locations and permanent registries
  • FASS family violence support services for female and gender-diverse clients will be provided by the following organisations at FCFCOA circuit locations:
    • Bethany Community Support Inc – Geelong & Warrnambool
    • Centre for Non-Violence (in partnership with Primary Care Connect and WRISC) – Bendigo, Ballarat & Shepparton
    • Mallee Sexual Assault Unit Inc. Mallee Domestic Violence Service – Mildura
    • Quantum Support Services – Morwell
  • No To Violence will provide FASS family violence support services for male clients at all FCFCOA circuit locations and permanent registries
  • Duty lawyer services will be provided by Victoria Legal Aid and the following organisations at FCFCOA circuit locations:
    • Barwon Community Legal Service – Geelong & Warrnambool
    • ARC Justice (in partnership with Ballarat & Grampians Community Legal Service) – Bendigo, Ballarat & Shepparton
    • Mallee Family Care Ltd Community Legal Service – Mildura
    • Anglicare Victoria Gippsland Community Legal Service – Morwell

Our continuing FASS partners

We are also pleased to announce that the following existing FASS partners delivering duty lawyer and family violence support services at the Melbourne and Dandenong permanent registries of the FCFCOA will continue as part of the FASS program:

  • No To Violence
  • Safe Steps
  • WAYSS
  • Peninsula Community Legal Centre
  • South-East Monash Legal Service.

Assistance from FASS is not means tested, and FASS family violence and mental health support workers can assist clients even if they already have a lawyer.

If you have a client who may benefit from assistance through the FASS program, you can refer them to a FASS information and referral officer on (03) 8373 7917.

More information

Read more about FASSExternal Link .

If you have any questions about the FASS program and FASS Expansion Project, please email the Family Law Projects team at fyclprojects@vla.vic.gov.au.

Reviewed 05 August 2022