Women’s Legal Service Victoria plays a significant role in reducing and preventing violence against women in Victoria. We intervene before violence occurs by advocating for law and policy changes that discourage violence and by undertaking community development work. We also intervene early in a woman’s experience of violence to help prevent further violence occurring by ensuring women have access to timely legal advice (see Improving Access) and that other professionals understand how the law can be used to avert further harm.
This year we delivered training to over 150 community lawyers as part of the Safer Families program. This program increases the capacity of community lawyers to provide quality legal representation and advice to clients with family violence matters. It also includes mentoring, trauma informed practices, and on-going professional development on emerging legal issues in the area of family violence.
Critical Legal Issues Map
Our legal education team continues to innovate and refine the critical legal issues map (the map). This unique road map, designed for family violence workers’ specific role, equips them to:
- make early enquiries about clients’ legal issues
- prioritise these issues
- guide clients to proactively navigate the legal system
The legal education team ran interactive and engaging workshops on the map across Victoria, travelling to rural and regional areas such as Murrary Mallee and Goulburn Valley. Participants of the training reported that the map prompts them to ask urgent questions, anticipate what lies ahead and prepare clients – resulting in them better supporting women and their children to be safe and to avoid homelessness or poverty.
Legally assisted Family Dispute Resolution for women experience family violence
Our legal education team provided training to Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners at FMC Mediation and Counselling and Lifeworks, paving the way for legally assisted Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) to be provided to women who have experienced family violence.
This form of FDR allows women who have experienced family violence to participate safely and effectively in FDR. In the absence of legal assistance at this stage, their matter could be left unresolved or they could be forced to represent themselves in family court proceedings, exposing them to the risk of further abuse and control.
Our training calendar
In addition to these training programs for specific professional audiences, WLSV’s training calendar provides professionals with opportunities to gain knowledge and skills in supporting women through legal processes in family law, family dispute resolution, family violence and victims of crime assistance.