Victoria Legal Aid

Past community education projects

We evaluate our past community education projects to measure their success and inform future projects, and to provide information and insights to others looking to undertake similar projects.

We evaluate our past community education projects to measure their success and inform future projects, and to share our work with others who may want to undertake similar projects.

Read about some of our past projects:

Below the belt: a phone app

About the project

Our first phone app, Below the belt: Sex, Selfies and Cyberbullying, was launched in November 2013 on Google Play.

The app focused on three main issues:

  • sex and consent (including age of consent)
  • sexting
  • cyberbullying.

The app project was designed to complement and extend existing CLE projects for young people. It is one component in a suite of tools that Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) provides to educate young people about sexting, cyberbullying and age of consent. The app was seen as a new way to convey popular information in a popular format.

The project was scoped in 2011–12 and was planned and implemented in 2012–13. The app was available from November 2013 until September 2014.

Evaluation of the project

Evaluation of Below the belt began in 2014 and concluded at the end of 2015. You can read our case studies to find out what we learned about producing an app.

Project contributors

Below the Belt contributors include:

  • Legal Aid ACT
  • Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission
  • Legal Aid Western Australia
  • Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania
  • Youth Advocacy Centre Queensland.

In addition, the following have been important project consultants:

  • Youthlaw
  • South Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault
  • Youth Affairs Council of Victoria
  • Maribyrnong Youth Services
  • Youthworx Media.

Connect Sessions – delivering education to mosques

About the project

We delivered thirteen Connect Sessions to metropolitan, regional and rural mosques from 2011 to 2013. These sessions provided legal education to a hard to reach audience – Muslim communities across Victoria.

More than 600 members from various communities participated, including Turkish, Afghani, Iraqi, Lebanese, Malaysian and African communities.

The Connect Sessions covered:

  • discrimination
  • racial vilification
  • human rights and the Victorian Charter of Human Rights.

We know from casework and community consultations that Muslim people experience discrimination at work, school, TAFE, hospitals, shopping centres and so on. This is confirmed by research reports such as VicHealth’s Mental health impacts of racial discrimination in Victorian CALD communitiesExternal Link . For many Muslim people, knowledge about legal rights and where to receive legal assistance is low. These high-need and diverse communities require tailored education to empower members to be active and informed citizens.

Our partners

Our project partners were:

  • Muslim Legal Network
  • Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.

Do Not Knock campaign

About the project

From 2010 to 2011 we developed an engagement and education strategy to support the national Do Not KnockExternal Link campaign and to raise awareness of legal rights in relation to door-to-door selling and telephone marketing.

We distributed more than 300,000 'Do Not Knock' stickers over three years.

We have delivered sessions to more than 3000 older people, members of newly arrived communities, rural Victorians and people experiencing a disability. We have also trained aged care workers, nurses and other workers to deliver this education to their clients.

If you are interested in running a session or need further information, see our Dealing with door-to-door sales resources.

The legal, financial and social problems caused by the intrusive practice of door-to-door selling and telephone marketing continue to raise problems. This is despite the decision by the Federal Court in 2012, where two companies were ordered to pay total penalties of $1 million for contravening the national consumer law. It was noted that the door sellers had failed to leave the premises upon the consumer’s request and when they had displayed a ‘Do Not Knock’ sign.

Isolated and vulnerable people appear to be targeted by companies selling items like vacuum cleaners, water purifiers and vocational training courses or online educational software.

Our partners

Our project partners include:

  • Consumer Action Law Centre, the initiators of the ‘Do Not Knock’ campaign
  • Moreland City Council.

Family Harmony Sessions

About the project

In 2010 we developed and delivered the Family Harmony Sessions. These sessions were face-to-face child protection and parenting education sessions for newly arrived communities. They began in Shepparton and have been adapted and delivered to other communities and regions, including Dandenong and Fitzroy.

The process for the Family Harmony Sessions involved consulting with the community and gathering their stories, then retelling these stories using a sensitive, preventative and holistic approach.

Through their local service providers, newly arrived communities across Victoria have expressed confusion and fear about the Victorian child protection system. These communities include various African and Burmese communities.

Our partners

Our project partners include:

  • St Paul’s Lutheran Church, Shepparton
  • Goulburn Ovens TAFE
  • Ethnic Council of Shepparton and District Inc.
  • UnitingCare – Cutting Edge
  • Australian Muslim Women’s Centre for Human Rights
  • Greater Shepparton City Council
  • FamilyCare – Shepparton
  • Goulburn Valley Community Health Service.

Read our evaluation

Relationships, young people and the law

About the project

Relationships, young people and the law (RYPL) was a response to the need for effective and engaging legal education for young people on the topic of violence and personal relationships. We planned the project in late 2015 and implemented it across 2016.

The project had several components:

  • establishing close partnerships with certain schools
  • establishing strong relationships with youth services to ensure successful referral and follow-up pathways
  • developing content comprising stories, activities, visual presentations and educators’ resources
  • evaluating the sessions by seeking feedback from young people, teachers and collaborating agencies.

The pilot project was delivered to schools we have ongoing relationships with, including Ringwood Secondary CollegeExternal Link and Newcomb Secondary CollegeExternal Link .

We co-presented with youth agencies, such as Maroondah Youth Services, who had delivered respectful relationships programs, prior to the legal issues being discussed. Where co-presentation was not possible, we ensured that our content was presented in a way that complemented other respectful relationships education programs being delivered in schools.

This project built on our existing work such as:

The project focused on violence in three categories of relationships:

  • family violence in the home, including between parents, between parents and children, and between siblings and other family relationships
  • family violence in intimate partner relationships
  • violence in relationships with friends and other people we meet where there is no familial or intimate relationship.

Legal issues included:

  • what is violence according to the law
  • the criminal justice response to violence
  • family violence and legal remedies such as family violence intervention orders
  • bullying, threats to personal safety and legal remedies such as mediation and personal safety intervention orders
  • how intervention orders work, such as consequences of breaching an order
  • where to get legal help.

Our approach

RYPL was delivered as a set of facilitated activities and discussion. It was about creating a space for thought and discussion about respectful relationships and the law as opposed to teaching a lesson. Our approach included:

  • brainstorming activities
  • word/outcome card match activities
  • videos
  • interactive storytelling. Students take part in telling the story, which has more than one outcome and the group discusses what the characters could have done differently.

Our partners and collaborating agencies were:

Space Invaders

About the project

Space Invaders was a legal education theatre project for young people about police powers. We created a theatre show with three key scenarios and quizzes in-between. We also had a short segment of ‘playback theatre’, where the performers asked for stories from the audience and then ‘played these back’ theatrically.

We planned and developed the project in 2010, and the show was performed in 2011. We reached more than 600 students in a fortnight-long season of touring performances.

Watch highlights of the Space Invaders project on YouTubeExternal Link .

Negative interactions between police and young people is an ongoing issue. Unfortunately, young people can get into even more trouble if they don’t know their rights or if they escalate a heated situation by losing their temper or being overly defiant. The legal consequences can include arrest, getting charged and a criminal record. Space Invaders aimed to equip young people with information and the skills to keep level-headed in tense situations.

Our partners

Our project partners included:

  • Flemington Kensington Community Legal Centre
  • Western Edge Youth Arts.

We also worked with a group of young African people to develop the scenarios.

The Australia Council and Creative Victoria helped fund the project.

Read our evaluation

Shepparton Sessions for newly arrived communities

About the project

In 2010 the Shepparton Sessions engaged with newly arrived communities in the Goulburn region, using community cultural development principles.

Consultations with community advocates, workers and representatives revealed a high need for legal education to address compounded legal problems, stress, confusion and fear. In response, we developed and delivered sessions to 400 participants from the Congolese, Burundi, Sudanese, Afghani and Iraqi communities, as well as to community workers for these groups.

The following sessions covered common legal issues and problems faced by the communities:

  • money problems
  • driving
  • unemployment and work
  • living in Australia
  • family harmony.

Our partners

Our project partners included:

  • St Paul’s Lutheran Church, Shepparton
  • Goulburn Ovens TAFE
  • Ethnic Council of Shepparton and District Inc.
  • Uniting Care – Cutting Edge
  • Australian Muslim Women’s Centre for Human Rights
  • Greater Shepparton City Council.

A great number of community representatives and project supporters and collaborators also informed the project.

Read our evaluation

Disclaimer: The material in this print-out relates to the law as it applies in the state of Victoria. It is intended as a general guide only. Readers should not act on the basis of any material in this print-out without getting legal advice about their own particular situations. Victoria Legal Aid disclaims any liability howsoever caused to any person in respect of any action taken in reliance on the contents of the publication.

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Reviewed 18 May 2022

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