Women’s Legal Service Victoria
Women’s Legal Service Victoria (WLSV) is a not for profit organisation which has been providing free legal services to women since 1982. We work with and for women experiencing particular disadvantage to address legal issues arising from relationship breakdown or violence.
WLSV provides free and confidential legal information, advice, referral and representation to women in Victoria. We prioritise assisting women who are facing particular barriers to accessing justice and where our assistance will have the greatest impact. We initiate and participate in law reform activities, ensuring that clients’ experiences are taken into account when legal policy is being developed or when changes are being made to the law. We deliver legal education, training and professional development to a range of organisations and professional groups. We also coordinate a volunteer program with over 70 volunteers.
We exist to help build a gender equitable country. Our unique contribution to this vision, as lawyers, advocates and educators, is to work alongside women experiencing disadvantage to promote their rights to live free from violence and make informed choices about their relationships.
Our Strategy sets out the impact we aim to have through our work. It also explains how we do our work, how we make decisions about what we do and how we continue to develop our organisational model in order to be as effective as possible.
WLSV is funded by the Indigenous Justice and Legal Assistance Division, Attorney General’s Department, Canberra and Victoria Legal Aid. We have also received project funding from the Victorian Legal Services Board, Helen Macpherson Smith Trust, Department of Justice and Regulation and Australian Unity.
Women’s Legal Service Victoria assists women experiencing disadvantage who are facing legal issues arising out of relationship breakdown and violence. This means that we assist women with issues such as:
- Protection from family violence and personal safety (intervention orders)
- Children living with and spending time with their parents (this used to be called “custody and access” or “residence and contact”)
- Division of property after separation
- Separation and divorce
- Victims of crime applications
- Child protection matters
We offer the following assistance to women in Victoria:
- free legal advice by phone on our Legal Advice Line
- free advice and representation to women at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court through our Legal Advice and Representation Clinic
- free advice and representation to women at the Children’s Court Family Division Moorabbin Justice Centre
- free Legal Representation in certain defined circumstances
We also offer access to financial counselling to women experiencing problems with debt, financial hardship or accessing financial entitlements following relationship breakdown.