Quarterly news – April 2016

Welcome to the April quarterly news

A major objective of the current Board is ensuring the Association's formal vision and mission are aligned strategically with our core activities. A sub-committee of the Board is currently working to develop a 5 year strategic plan, against which existing programs can be measured and evaluated. Like all community legal centres, we are heavily reliant on government funding and to ensure ongoing funding of existing services we also need to be actively responsive to the strategic aims of Victoria Legal Aid which is encouraging greater collaboration between centres and placing a greater emphasis on outreach legal programs.

The Board is conscious of the need of placing our publications, especially the online version of The Law Handbook, on a viable financial footing and the Fundraising Committee is working hard to secure alternative funding sources to lessen the current reliance on one-off grants.

The Finance Audit & Risk Committee manages risk and financial sustainability; in conjunction with the management team they will be responsible for bringing the 2015-2016 budget to the Board for adoption.

The Board regularly receives presentations from staff; these serve two purposes: they better inform the Board of an aspect of our operations, and also demonstrate the commitment and enthusiasm of the staff. Without their enthusiasm and that of our many volunteers, we would not have the community and legal status we have.

Bruce McBain, Chair of the Board

The Law Handbook 2015 e-book now available

The Law Handbook

Got a copy of The Law Handbook 2015 but find it difficult to carry around with you when you need it the most? Do you want the convenience of having the law at your fingertips but finding it a battle to juggle The Law Handbook between court or the classroom?

We have the perfect solution for you – get the The Law Handbook 2015 e-book today. Now available for download on any smart device you might have.

Forums equip community workers with vital legal information

Community Workers Forum in Mildura

We presented a community workers forum in Mildura

Community workers forums being run by us and delivered across metropolitan and regional Victoria in 2015 promise to give people working on the front line a greater practical understanding of the law.

‘These forums provide a unique opportunity to hear from our specialist legal staff first-hand on a wide range of topics including an introduction to the criminal justice system and the kind of legal interventions that best assist vulnerable members in the community,’ said Ela Stewart, Community Development Officer.

Spotlight on the Neighbourhood Justice Centre

Galit Aflalo

Galit Aflalo outside public housing in Collingwood.

For our Community Lawyer, Galit Aflalo, an important part of working at the Neighbourhood Justice Centre in Collingwood lies in being able to raise and challenge the systemic issues that often lie behind why a person is brought before the courts.

Read more about Galit’s work at Insight: innovation driven from practical work on the ground.

Othello on Trial

Othello on Trial

With assistance from La Mama Theatre, the Victorian Women’s Trust and a private donor, we recently supported three performances of Othello on Trial at the La Mama Courthouse. Approximately 200 people attended the performances and provided lots of positive feedback. Othello on Trial is the first play in a new youth theatre project – ‘Seeing Red: Murderous Rage Against Women: A Public Engagement and Schools Project’ – which explores the gendered relations underpinning intimate partner femicide.

The killing of women by male partners and former partners, on average one a week in Australia, surely rates as a fundamental predicament, even a national crisis. This project’s vision is to design a creative prevention programme that uses theatre as a tool to stimulate critical thinking about social and cultural values. The project aims to emphasise the critical importance of primary prevention and attitudinal change and utilise Shakespeare’s uncannily timely plays targeting men’s possessive jealousy and infidelity-inspired rage to engage young people in a debate about how to prevent violence against women.

But we need help! If you are interested in supporting this project or would like further information please contact Claudia Fatone, Executive Officer, on 9419 3744.

Mentors help bring the law to disadvantaged women

Robyn Wall (L) and Lynne Thomas (R)

Robyn Wall (L) and Lynne Thomas, Legal Projects Officer (R)

Robyn Wall says that without the volunteer mentors that kindly give their time and efforts to help vulnerable women in the City of Yarra many would fall through the gaps in the criminal justice system.

Robyn heads up an organisation called Women and Mentoring (WAM) based in Collingwood. WAM was originally established in response to a young woman falling foul of the law. Her family was shocked by the lack of support for young women particularly and sought support through the Collingwood Rotary and the Wellington Collingwood Inc to fund research into the needs of young adult offenders including the kind of assistance that could best help them in the justice system.