Legal assistance priority area

Improving legal assistance access, representation and integration across the family violence system

This priority area focuses on improving access to legal assistance and representation. It also enhances integration between the legal assistance sector (such as Victoria Legal Aid) and the broader family violence service system.

These activities focus on early intervention, workforce capacity and responding to the impact of COVID-19.

They support victim survivors to understand their legal options and make informed decisions about their family and safety needs and to advocate for their access to justice. They also help perpetrators understand police and court processes and meet any obligations associated with court outcomes.

The Family Violence Legal Assistance Working Group (co-chaired by the Department of Justice and Community Safety and the Federation of Community Legal Centres) determined the order and priority for delivering these activities in 2022 and 2023. The working group took into consideration the demands on the sector as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the breadth of work committed to.

What has happened?

There has been some progress towards implementing Rolling Action Plan activities within the legal assistance priority area. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic across the legal system were significant. As a result, we focused on the immediate delivery of services, rather than broader reform to improve legal assistance access, representation and integration across the family violence system.

The Legal assistance priority area is closely aligned with the Courts priority area. In particular, this occurs through activities, services and programs provided through the Specialist Family Violence Courts.

Courts priority area

What is next

We are considering and prioritising a number of activities in the legal assistance area delivery commencing in 2022. This will provide clear direction for the sector on what will be delivered.

There are some activities already in progress that will continue, including:

What does this mean for outcomes