Victoria Legal Aid

Supporting clients and best practice at the Specialist Family Violence Courts

Our Specialist Family Violence Courts (SFVC) project is beginning 2022 by developing new legal information resources about family violence legal needs, and duty lawyer guidelines for the five SFVC sites.

Thursday 17 February 2022 4:35am

Our project to deliver high-quality legal services at Victoria’s five Specialist Family Violence Courts is beginning the new year focused on supporting practitioners and creating new legal information resources for clients.

Working with people with a lived experience of family violence

To develop new legal information resources, we’ve been consulting with victim-survivors and respondents to family violence intervention order (FVIO) applications.

In sessions facilitated by St Kilda Legal Service (LGBTIQ Legal Service), Safe Steps, No to Violence, inTouch, Youthlaw and the Law and Advocacy Centre for Women we asked people to provide feedback on draft family violence legal information videos and online content.

‘Hearing from people with a lived experience of family violence is essential for creating and improving our legal information,’ said Brea Acton, SFVC project coordinator.

'With this detailed and thoughtful feedback we have been able to learn more about what people want – not what we think they want – to help them prepare for court.’

All participants were paid for their time and their feedback will be used to update our existing information and create new resources to better meet client needs.

Launch of the SFVC duty lawyer guidelines

On 31 January, interim SFVC duty lawyer guidelines were launched at all five sites.

These guidelines will facilitate increased access to legal advice and representation for people in FVIO proceedings, and to priority clients facing family violence related summary crime charges.

The guidelines were developed through broad consultation with service providers, senior Victoria Legal Aid and CLC lawyers, our SFVC project’s Steering Committee and our Summary Crime Program.

Following an evaluation, these guidelines will be taken to Victoria Legal Aid's board for final approval.

Priorities in 2022

In 2022, once COVID-19 restrictions allow, the project team is looking forward to visiting each of the SFVC sites at Shepparton, Ballarat, Moorabbin, Heidelberg and Frankston.

We’re continuing to work on projects to improve the competency of staff to provide culturally appropriate services, and work and wellbeing guidelines for legal staff at the SFVCs.

More information

If you have any questions about our SFVC project please contact Brea Acton, SFVC Project Coordinator at

Read more about our project to deliver legal services at SFVC.

Reviewed 31 March 2022