16 September 2020 – Volume 204


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COVID-19 by the numbers – helping people during the pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended so much of our day-to-day lives. But what has that meant for people who need legal help for their real-world problems? In this, the first of a series, we look at the changes in the help people have sought since the pandemic began.

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‘Kids in resi just want love and understanding’Mia’s charges dismissed

15-year-old Mia benefitted from the new agreement to reduce rates of contact between police and children in residential care, when criminal charges she was facing were dismissed. But we’re still seeing too many children and young people in the child protection system charged, where we believe there are better alternatives.

Non-legal service highly valued by parents in child protection system

RMIT University’s mid-term evaluation of our non-legal advocacy pilot, Independent Family Advocacy and Support (IFAS) shows it is reaching its priority groups, diverting families from the court system and is highly valued by those who use it.

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Lived experience expert joins our specialist family violence courts team

Read about Cathy's role.

COVID-19 news

COVID-19 September justice update

Victoria’s courts and the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) will begin working with the legal profession and justice stakeholders on a coordinated response to the foreshadowed gradual easing of COVID-19 restrictions. Read the statement from the Chief Justice Anne Ferguson and stay up to date with justice sector updates.

Recording COVID-19 impacts 

COVID-19 has been added to the list of 'influencing factors' in ATLAS, our online system for practitioners to lodge and track legal aid applications. We’ve added some new guidance around when not to use the COVID-19 flag as we want to ensure our reporting is only collecting data where COVID-19 impacts a client’s legal matter.
Learn more about when to, and not to, select COVID-19 as an influencing factor for your client's matter.

Panel practitioner updates

New fee for Child Protection readiness hearings following review

We have added a preparation fee for practitioners who appear in readiness hearings in child protection matters in the Children’s Court, regardless of whether the matter reaches a settlement. We are also expanding these fees to make them available for parties across Victoria.

Improving clients’ experience in family violence matters

As a part of our commitment to ensuring our clients have the best possible experience, we are soon launching new quality audits for family violence practitioners.

These audits will ensure people receive outstanding help and will allow us to identify and highlight the work of panel practitioners who are leading the way.

Executive leadership opportunity – Family, Youth and Children's Law

We are seeking an executive leader for the delivery of our Family Youth and Children’s Law (FYCL) programs. Reporting to the CEO, this role is an exciting opportunity to contribute significantly to the ongoing development and delivery of priorities such as family violence and child protection. Find out more.

Community news and notices

Mental Health Week IMHA 5-year event

Independent Mental Health Advocacy recently turned five! To mark 2020 Mental Health Week IMHA is hosting an online panel discussion about progressing consumer leadership and rights in Victoria’s mental health system. RSVP for the event.

Online train-the-trainer program for NDIS service providers

Independent Mental Health Advocacy is launching a series of trainings, to help workers assist people experiencing mental health issues or mental distress, to advocate for what they need under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
Sign up for the training

If you have any community news that you would like included in this newsletter email editor@vla.vic.gov.au. Items will be published at the editor's discretion.

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This newsletter is authorised by Victoria Legal Aid, 570 Bourke Street Melbourne 3000.

Victoria Legal Aid operates on Aboriginal country throughout Victoria. We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land and respect their continuing connections to land, sea and community.

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