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VLA calls for more funding


Cite as: August 2015 89 (8) LIJ, p.14

The case for increased long-term funding for legal assistance to enable Victoria Legal Aid (VLA), community legal centres and private lawyers to meet the growing demand for family violence help has been submitted to the Royal Commission into Family Violence. 

The call for more resourcing is one of more than 30 recommendations made by VLA, the state’s largest provider of family violence legal help, in its June submission to the royal commission.

VLA has also called for:

  • a new and more effective approach to dealing with the serious issue of violence committed by children and young people at home, to help protect families and deal with the problem;
  • improvement in court safety, appointment of applicant and respondent workers at all Magistrates’ Courts and continuing specialist training for all magistrates and court staff;
  • an increase in the availability of programs for behavioural change, mental health, and drug and alcohol problems; and
  • treatment of family violence offences to be taken as seriously as other offences and holding perpetrators accountable through existing criminal laws.
  • VLA managing director Bevan Warner said providing timely legal help for victims and perpetrators is critical in preventing family violence and stopping it escalating, and many people felt let down by the system.

    VLA’s family violence duty lawyer service is at saturation point and struggling to meet demand, according to the submission. In 2013–14 its duty lawyers assisted in less than one-third of intervention order applications finalised by the Magistrates’ Court.


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