Welcome to our June quarterly e-news. It has been a challenging year so far for community legal centres throughout Australia with the Commonwealth Government announcing funding cuts to the community legal sector, then overturning their decision after a nationwide campaign. We also signed an open letter to the Victorian Government calling for a need for a Spent Convictions Scheme, participated in Law Week activities and successfully reached our #saveourfriday campaign goal. As we near the end of the financial year, please consider a tax-deductible donation to support our work.
Save Our Friday Campaign
With Fitzroy Legal Service set to have $40,000 gutted from our budget, we launched the #saveourfriday campaign.
We received overwhelming support from the public with a total of $10,325 received in pledges.
On Monday 24 April 2017, the Commonwealth Government announced its decision to reverse the impending funding cuts to Community Legal Centres nationally. However we have yet to receive confirmation as to whether Fitzroy Legal Service will receive any of this additional funding and if we do, whether this new funding will be directed towards specific services.
We remain committed to continuing to provide accessible free legal advice via our evening services and are grateful for the support the campaign received.
In May, we partnered with Yarra Libraries to organise two Know Your Rights! sessions on discrimination, racism and the law during Law Week. This marked the beginning of our partnership with Yarra Libraries to deliver regular legal education sessions to City of Yarra residents.
Our lawyers based at the Neighbourhood Justice Centre worked collaboratively to organise the Mock Trial Event: Courting Solutions, showcasing how Australia’s only Community Justice Centre effectively addresses the underlying causes of harmful behaviour. Acting Senior Community Lawyer, Galit Aflalo, appeared in her usual role as Criminal Defence Lawyer. This event was a successful partnership between Fitzroy Legal Service, Victoria Legal Aid, Victoria Police Prosecutions, Community Corrections Victoria and the Neighbourhood Justice Centre.
Our Executive Officer Claudia Fatone participated in a panel discussion on youth justice as part of the Talking Justice event held in Bendigo.
A very big thank you to Tamar Hopkins, Catherine Symons (our Know Your Rights! speakers), Loddon Campaspe Community Legal Centre, Yarra Libraries, the Neighbourhood Justice Centre, Victoria Legal Aid, Victoria Police Prosecutions and Community Corrections Victoria. Biggest thanks of all goes to the Victoria Law Foundation for their support in making these events possible.
Fitzroy Legal Service representatives, Ella Crotty, Marc Vandenbroucke and Jennifer Ward attended the IDAHOBIT (International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia) celebration at Fed Square to demonstrate our support for the LGBTIQ community in Australia.
May 17 is the anniversary of the day in 1990 when the World Health Organisation removed the classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder.
The International Day Against Homophobia, or IDAHO, was established in 2004 to draw attention to the violence and discrimination that LGBTIQ communities continue to experience around the world.
Our advocacy work on behalf of the clients and communities we work with has included providing support for three key initiatives:
1) Letter to IBAC Parliamentary Committee re: terms of reference for investigation into police complaints system (organized by Flemington and Kensington CLC)
2) Open letter to Attorney General Martin Pakula urging him to introduce or support legislation for a spent convictions scheme
3) Open letter to Attorney General Pakula and Ministers Mikakos and Neville expressing deep concerns about some changes proposed in the Youth Justice Reform Bill and the Protective Service Officers Bill, both tabled in Parliament on 24th May 2017.
Ways to support Fitzroy Legal Service
There are a number of ways to support our work:
1) Become a Member
Membership is open to any individual to apply. See http://www.fitzroy-legal.org.au/membership
2) Purchase a Law Handbook
As at 1st July, you can purchase the 2016 and 2017 Law Handbook at discounted prices! The 2017 edition will be available at $50 (plus P&H) with the 2016 edition reduced to $25 (plus P&H).
Grab your copy of The Law Handbook, a practical guide to the law in Victoria, updated by over 80 legal experts. It provides free, comprehensive information about the laws that affect Victorians in everyday life.
The 2017 Law Handbook is also available for purchase as an e-Book and in individual PDF chapters.
The link to our online store is available here.
3) Support fundraising activities
Every Friday evening, the Fitzroy Social Club - Fundraising for Fitzroy Legal Service holds a raffle at the Napier Hotel to raise funds for Fitzroy Legal Service. Tickets are sold from 5pm onwards with the raffle drawn at 7.30pm.
4) Make a tax deductible donation
Every $ counts. Donations of $2 or more are tax deductible and can be made via our website.
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