Victoria Legal Aid

Supporting family violence clients with diverse needs and experiences

An interim evaluation has found we’re providing a tailored response to clients at Victoria’s first five Specialist Family Violence Courts.

Monday 6 March 2023 12:15am

An interim evaluation of our Specialist Family Violence Courts (SFVC) Legal Practice Model has found that clients with diverse needs and experiences are receiving support that is tailored to their needs and circumstances.

‘We designed the model to ensure clients at SFVC locations received high-quality legal services that are safe to use and easy to access. I’m pleased the interim evaluation shows we’re well on track,’ said Leanne Sinclair, Associate Director, Family Violence Response.

The interim evaluation by the Centre for Innovative Justice (CIJ) found that despite the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and the increase in demand for family violence legal services, the model has largely been implemented at the first five SFVC locations in Victoria.

We work collaboratively with our colleagues in the legal assistance sector to provide these services at the five original SFVC locations.

‘We know that going to court for a family violence matter can be confusing and intimidating so I’m really encouraged by some of the feedback received through the evaluation process,’ said Leanne.

‘It indicates that clients are finding it easier to obtain information about the court process and legal advice than they otherwise would have.’

‘We know the creation of our information and referral officers and the additional Aboriginal community engagement officer role funded through this project are making a real difference to people’s experience at court,’ said Leanne.

Through these non-legal roles, we’re providing people with additional help through support and referrals to legal and non-legal services like housing, health and community supports.

In response to the interim evaluation’s recommendations we’re continuing to work with court staff, police and other stakeholders to improve their understanding of our services under the model.

‘We’re pleased with the progress so far, and we look forward to continuing to work with colleagues in the justice and family violence services sector to ensure we are collectively meeting the needs of people with family violence legal needs,’ said Leanne.

The final CIJ evaluation will be completed in November 2023.

More information

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Reviewed 06 March 2023