“I was financially struggling and I had no money when my ex-partner kicked me out. WLSV helped me find accommodation. Gave me a lot of courage to go to the Court and protect myself, and now I feel that was definitely the right thing to do, because otherwise my situation would have become worse.”
Women’s Legal Service Victoria (WLSV) works alongside women experiencing disadvantage to promote their rights to live free from violence and make informed choices about their relationships. We do this by providing legal advice and representation to individual women, advocating for law and policy reform that promotes the rights of women, and by building the capacity of other professionals and the community to identify and respond appropriately to legal need.
Connecting in with women with disability
Women with disabilities are over represented as victims of family violence. In partnership with Women with Disabilities Victoria, we co-delivered their Gender and Disability workforce development program for senior executives of disability services in July 2016.
The program engages and builds relationships with disability support organisations to cultivate cultures of respect as well as gender and disability equality. It builds organisational and workforce capacity in the area of prevention of violence against women with disabilities and enhances cross sector collaboration.
Building capacity across Victoria
Our Safer Families training program builds the capacity of Community Legal Centre (CLC) lawyers to provide high quality, effective advice and representation to clients experiencing family violence. The highly successful program now includes trauma-informed practice training, developed with expert input from Phoenix Australia – Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health (Melbourne University). This unique training provides lawyers working in the family violence sector with skills to identify the impact of trauma on a client’s ability to participate in the legal system. Using recovery-focused interventions, lawyers are able to identify and talk about trauma safely and sensitively, while also learning tools to look after themselves and build resilience.
This year we partnered with Deakin University to provide components of our specialist duty lawyer training via video conferencing facilities and social media platforms. This allowed more regional lawyers to be involved in the training, ensuring a better sector-wide response to women in regional Victoria.