Specialist Programs

Strengthening legal pathways for CALD women

This project aims to help CALD women increase their legal literacy on family violence/law issues through community legal education tailored to their cultural and linguistic community.

The project aims to increase knowledge and understanding of the law, raise awareness of legal and other support services, and build trust with local communities.

The program consists of online and face-to-face information sessions for women at a variety of formal and informal settings.

We also deliver information sessions for staff of organisations who frequently assist migrant and refugee women. The sessions seek to raise awareness of family/family violence and other relevant laws and services to enable workers to identify when their clients are experiencing a legal issue and make appropriate referrals.

Our sessions cover a variety of Australian laws that are relevant to migrant women including driving, employment law, family law, family violence, infringements, neighbourhood disputes, the powers of police, tenancy and more.

The project is supported by the Victorian Law Foundation and the Slater and Gordon Community Fund, a sub-fund of the Australian Communities Foundation.
Any community organisation may request a free online or in-person community legal education session by contacting Kirsten Young at kyoung@pclc.org.au

As part of the project we have produced two short videos on family violence.

The first video provides information on coercive control, and the second on how to access some of the major support services. The videos are available in English, and English with Dari, Hindi & Arabic subtitles. view the videos on : Our Videos & Podcasts page

The Strengthening Legal Pathways project was featured by the Victoria Law Foundation here: Strengthening legal pathways through experimentation and collaboration (victorialawfoundation.org.au)

Street Law Coffee Van

PCLC has partnered with Whitelion and Social Engine in an exciting new project, the Street Law Coffee Van, the first of its kind in Victoria.

Equal justice before the law is a familiar phrase, but equal justice requires equal access. For those who are geographically or socially isolated or who don’t have the time or money to see a lawyer, the inability to access legal advice can be a barrier to obtaining equal justice.

Our innovative Street Law Coffee Van is working to close this justice gap by bringing the law to the people in local communities that have historically been underserved. Our team will actively seek out people who may need legal support.

Hard-to-reach populations who might not be able to access our offices or who may not even be aware that some of their everyday problems have a legal solution can meet with our Street Law team at convenient community-based locations that they know and trust. Over a free cup of coffee they can have a legal health check to uncover hidden legal issues and receive advice on how to deal with them.

What makes this program unique is that it combines free legal and youth services in the one integrated mobile service. In addition to PCLC’s legal team, the coffee van is staffed by Social Engine’s youth worker and an at-risk young person who will gain training and work experience as a barista.
What is also new about the project is that the van visits a mix of public places as well as more traditional fixed locations for community outreach services. Rather than sitting in an office like traditional lawyers, our team goes out on to the streets to engage with people. And as it is mobile, the van can also change where our legal services are provided depending on community need. The Street Law team visits shopping centres, sporting events and markets, as well as schools, health centres, homeless services, community kitchens, emergency food relief programs, Centrelink offices and drug and alcohol treatment centres.

The project offers free legal advice on most legal matters, including landlord-tenant issues, fines and infringement debt, family law and family violence, criminal law, and other general law issues. It also provides on-going representation in some circumstances. If we think a client might be better served by an outside resource, we’ll refer them to another community legal centre or Victoria Legal Aid, or to appropriate non-legal support organisations.

In addition to providing barista training to at-risk young people who staff the coffee van, the youth worker can also assist young people who approach the van in need of support with referrals to Whitelion and other youth services.

The Street Law Coffee Van – which is a bold, eye-catching blue – is on the road two to three days a week. No appointments are necessary.
This project is supported by Gandel Philanthropy and The Jack Brockhoff Foundation.

Family Law to Family Violence Continuity of Service Delivery

Peninsula Community Legal Centre Inc. has received funding from Victoria Legal Aid to conduct the Family Law to Family Violence Continuity of Service Delivery Pilot. This program enables PCLC to provide ongoing family law casework services for separating parties, particularly parents who are applicants or respondents to Family Violence Intervention Order matters at the Magistrates’ Court/s. Family Law Duty services are provided at the Magistrates’ Court to assist clients to navigate the family law system with issues such as children and property matters with continuing support provided through family dispute resolution or at the Commonwealth family law courts. Services are targeted to priority clients in accordance with VLA guidelines.

In addition PCLC will provide advice and information services, referrals , community legal education, community development and law reform activities.

Work and Development Permit (WDP) Scheme

PCLC has received funding from the Victorian Legal Services Board to integrate the Work and Development Permit (WDP) Scheme across Melbourne’s Southern region.

The Work and Development Permit (WDP) Scheme allows eligible people to ‘work off’ their unpaid fines by engaging with a range of health, educational and other pro-social activities. A health practitioner or an organisation can become an accredited ‘sponsor’ in the WDP Scheme and provide access to it for the people connected to their services. A sponsor can provide treatment, courses or other activities so that the time a client spends engaged in a sponsor’s service counts towards clearing this debt. Sponsor applications are made through Fines Victoria.

Our WDP Project team work proactively with health and community services providers across multiple sectors to provide assistance in understanding how the initiative can be adapted in their organisations. Through this collaborative work, PCLC has established a number of health-justice relationships with agencies who support vulnerable community members. These relationships build the capacity of these organisations to identify and respond to the legal issues experienced by people connected to their services and to work effectively with our legal practitioners.
Contact the WDP Project Team at PCLC on 9783 3600 or pclc@pclc.org.au if you are interested in knowing more about the WDP scheme.

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