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$1.4 million funding boost to improve Victorians’ access to justice

Breaking intergenerational disadvantage for women and families living in the Central Goldfields Shire is one of a number of projects to benefit from a funding extension to the Victorian Legal Services Board and Commissioner’s grants program.

The VLSB+C has today announced increased funding to 13 grants projects in response to the growing need for legal help during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grantees will share in $1.4 million funding this year to help reduce barriers to justice at a time when they need it the most.

Loddon Campaspe Community Legal Centre, which has been allocated a further $180,000, works with local health services and the courts in the Maryborough region to address systemic barriers to justice.

Many of the people they support are women and children facing family violence or mental health issues. They work with the ‘whole person’ and offer a range of support services that extend beyond initial calls for legal support. 

Another project in suburban Melbourne, Sporting Change, which is run by the South-East Monash Legal Service uses sport to help young people in schools learn about the justice system.

As part of this program young people can access a school lawyer for legal advice, information, assistance and referrals. Common topics include employment law, driving law, bullying and healthy relationships.

Of the students that took part in the Sporting Change program held in the City of Casey in 2020, 98% reported it helped them find out more about where to get help with legal issues.

Over the past 14 years the VLSB+C has distributed more than $46 million to projects that will improve access to justice for Victorians.

Quotes from Fiona McLeay, Victorian Legal Services Commissioner and Board CEO

“This year the Board focussed on applications from existing grantees who had experienced an increase in calls for help due to life stressors made worse during the pandemic. 

I am very pleased to extend funding to grants projects that have already made such a positive impact on people’s lives and access to justice.

This enables them to carry on with their work, which is needed now more than ever in our community.”

Quotes from Lindy Harland, Managing Lawyer, Loddon Campapse CLC

“Often a client’s legal problem can be a symptom of other life stressors and we have to work with the whole person to make a real and sustained difference in their life.

I’m really proud of the work we are doing with our partners in the region and what we have achieved so far gives us hope. Without this money many more people would simply fall through the cracks.”

Find out more about our 2021 Grant Recipients here or watch the video below :

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