The community legal sector

The community legal sector consists of a national peak (CLCs Australia), eight state and territory associations (STAs) and more than 160 legal service providers (known as ‘centres’) consisting of community legal centres, Family Violence Prevention Legal Services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services. CLCs Australia has the eight state and territory addociations as its members, and these STAa count legal service providers (centres) as their members. CLCs Australia works with the state and territory peaks and directly with centres to provide a range of services and support functions, as well as advocating on a federal level for law reform and funding that benefits the sector. 

State and territory associations

There are eight state and territory associations across Australia, which serve the six states, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory. Between them, they have more than 160 indpendent organisations as their members. These organisations consist of community legal centres, Family Violence Prevention Legal Services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services.

FVPLSs and ATSILSs

Family Violence Prevention Legal Services (FVPLSs) and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILSs) are specialist legal services that serve communities across Austalia. Some FVPLSs and ATSILSs choose to become members of their local state or territory association and enjoy the benefits of that membership, including being eligible for services provided by Community Legal Centres Australia. FVPLSs are also members of National Family Violence Prevention Legal Services (FVPLS) Forum.

 

Community legal centres

Community legal centres are non-government, not-for-profit organisations that provide free and independent civil, family, and criminal legal services to people experiencing financial disadvantage, discrimination or violence and abuse. They also provide holistic, trauma-informed non-legal supports, community legal education, and law reform and advocacy to deliver the sector’s vision for progressive change. They assist communities across Australia in metropolitan, regional, rural, remote, and very remote communities. 

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Centres work to develop and facilitate partnerships between legal assistance providers and other legal and non-legal services (for example, domestic violence organisations, community health organisations, housing services and drug and alcohol services). This allows centres to provide holistic help to people and is designed to avoid escalation of legal problems.