Heavy handed law enforcement could undermine the “fight for our lives”

By Paul Kidd and Karen Fletcher

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October News

We are pleased to share our October update which highlights some of the key pieces of work undertaken recently, including community legal information resources and advocacy activities.  We also profile two members of our team and draw attention to three pro bono partnerships supporting vital legal assistance services for our community.

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Women with lived experience of the prison system share their stories for change

More women than ever are on remand in Victorian prisons, and the number of Aboriginal women in prison has risen by 400 per cent in the past 10 years. It is a crisis in the state’s prison system. The Women’s Leadership Group featured on this Philanthropy Australia podcast is employed by the Fitzroy Legal Service in Victoria as a component of the Women Transforming Justice Project. That Project is community-based and women-specific with the aim of reducing the number of women in remand in Victoria. It is funded by the Victorian Legal Service Board Grants Program and delivered through a partnership between Darebin Community Legal Centre (a program of Fitzroy Legal Service), the Law and Advocacy Centre for Women and Flat Out. Other supporters include the Inner North Community Foundation Group.

Listen to the podcast here

Employment Opportunity - SFVC Administration Officer

The Fitzroy Legal Service is seeking applications for a new position which will support our service delivery as part of the Specialist Family Violence Court (SFVC) at Heidelberg Magistrates Court.

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September News

Whilst our offices remain closed, FLS staff continue to work tirelessly to support and advocate for our clients.  The impacts of COVID-19 on the Victorian community have been significant and will continue to be felt well into the future.  This difficult situation continues to challenge us to think creatively and look at innovative ways to deliver vital services to clients at a time when they need us more than ever.   We also continue to advocate to ensure that the restrictions and use of extraordinary powers are lawful, proportionate and justified, and supported Liberty Victoria's call that "the Victorian Government limit any extension of the state of emergency to a maximum of six months, and to commit to four-weekly reviews within that period to ensure that limits on human rights and freedoms will only continue where necessary".   We were disappointed to be advised by Victoria Police of a change in their approach to policing the COVID-19 restrictions, moving from the previous approach involving education and guidance to a stronger enforcement approach.  Our COVID-19 telephone advice line continues to be offered to provide free legal advice to individuals who may have received a fine, had an internal review rejected by Victoria Police and/or been treated unfairly or targeted.

FLS was thrilled to recently receive support for three initiatives.  We have been funded to be involved in the roll-out of the Specialist Family Violence Courts Model at Heidelberg Magistrates Court, in conjunction with Victoria Legal Aid.  The purpose of the new new model is to deliver client centred quality legal services in the Specialist Family Violence Courts that are easy to access, safe to use and integrated within the family violence service system.   We have also received an Information, Linkages and Capacity Building Grant from the Australian Government Department of Social Services.  This grant will allow us to work with Voices for Change to support self advocacy for people with acquired brain injury and lived experience of the criminal justice system.  Through the support of the Victorian and Federal Governments, we will embark on a redevelopment of The Law Handbook website, to ensure that plain language legal information is more accessible to members of our community, assisting them to address their legal problems and ultimately positively impacting on community health and wellbeing.

For further updates please keep reading below.

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Community Lawyer, Civil Law

The Fitzroy Legal Service seeks applications for a new position of Community Lawyer, Civil.  This position is offered as a twelve month contract and will provide civil advice and casework services, with a focus on disputes over employment, tenancy and debt arising from the COVID pandemic.

How to apply

Candidates are requested to email the following as one PDF document:

·A covering letter, no longer than one page;

·A document which addresses the key selection criteria; and

·A resume which includes details of education, work and volunteer experience.

Applications should be addressed to Adrian Snodgrass, Principal Lawyer Night Service, and emailed as soon as possible but no later than 5pm Wednesday 9 September 2020 to

The full recruitment information document can be accessed by clicking here or reading below.

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2021 Trainee Lawyer

Fitzroy Legal Service seeks applications for our 2021 Trainee Lawyer position.   

  • Law students who commenced their final semester of their law degree in 2020 are eligible to apply;
  • Students who have recently graduated from law and who have not been admitted to practice may also apply; and
  • Law graduates who are currently undertaking PLT (but are not yet admitted to practice) are eligible to apply.

If you are already admitted to practice you cannot apply. If you are currently studying law but will not commence your final semester in 2020, you cannot apply.

Applications open    10am, Monday 24 August 2020                 

Applications close    11.59pm, Monday 7 September 2020

The full recruitment information document can be accessed by clicking here or reading below.

As we anticipate a high level of interest in this position, please email any enquiries to Claudia Fatone, CEO,

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Media Release_11 August 2020

Media Release

For immediate release: Tuesday 11 August 2020

Increased police powers must not be free kick for discrimination

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Media Release 20 July 2020

Media Release

 | For immediate release: Monday 20 July 2020

Andrews Government must reduce the number of people in prisons as part of response to COVID-19

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Media Release: A Constellation of Circumstances Report


New report shows why women’s remand numbers must stay down

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