In our work, we collect stories about the amazing commitment, resilience and resourcefulness of people across the community legal sector – we share some of those stories here.
Helen Campbell began her work with the community legal sector as a student in the early ‘80s. In the decades since, Helen has made an immeasurable impact on the various community legal centres she’s worked with, and on the sector as a whole. As she moves on from the sector, our in-depth profile explores some of Helen’s work, stories and advice for other community legal sector workers.
Community Legal Centres Australia released a statement in early October as news came of unfolding climate disasters across NSW, Victoria and Tasmania: Governments must protect people and communities from the legal impacts of frequent and worsening climate disasters.
Meanwhile, centres on the frontline of legal service provision explored innovative approaches to responding to legal need in their communities.
by Khoi Nguyen, Community Engagement and Legal Education Officer, Q+Law
Wonderful news for LGBTIQA+ people in Victoria: there is a new free legal service just for you! Q+Law is a peer-led service that is safe entry point for LGBTIQA+ people in Victoria to seek free legal advice. The legal profession can often lack understanding of the experiences of the LGBTIQA+ community. Q+Law bridges this gap through providing legal help by LGBTIQA+ lawyers.
Kimberly Community Legal Services were out at the Homelessness Day event in Broome earlier this month, showing support to people in their community experiencing homelessness or living rough. KCLS chatted to people and let them know about the services available to support them.
KCLS also used the opportunity to raise awareness of family and domestic violence (FDV) as the single biggest driver of homelessness in Australia. They partnered with a local business to package up toiletries kits with FDV safety cards to give out to members of the community most at risk.
During Dark Mofo, Tasmania's largest winter festival, the Tenants' Union of Tasmania leveraged its prominent shopfront to highlight a key issue for its clients and the community: Hobart's lack of social and affordable homes. This year, businesses were encouraged to show their support for the festival by lighting up their shopfronts in red. The Tenants’ Union of Tasmania placed a silhouette of a house in its shopfront with the words ‘For some the dark is not a celebration – Tasmania has a housing crisis’.
On the first of May, International Workers’ Day, union members around the world gather to celebrate their collective wins for workers’ rights. Celebrating and protecting workers’ rights aligns with our sector’s values and commitment to social justice. In our workplaces we provide free legal help to people in need, many of whom are workers. We educate and empower people and communities to advocate for their own rights. We fight for systemic change to unjust laws and policies that harm our communities. Strengthening workers’ rights directly empowers the people we work with every day.
Tenants’ Union of NSW participated in this year's May Day rally alongside workers from many other NSW-based centres on Gadigal land in Sydney.
Community Legal Centres NSW has produced a twelve-minute documentary called Living Under Threat. It tells the story of the 2022 flooding in northern NSW and the response of Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre. Despite losing both of its offices in the flood, the centre played a pivotal role in supporting the local community to recover in the aftermath of the devastating 2022 floods.
Climate justice isn’t just about keeping fossil fuels in the ground or raising flood walls. Climate justice is also about addressing gendered violence, preventing the displacement of Aboriginal communities, raising the rate of income support to a liveable level, building public housing, and ensuring everyone has a safe and stable place to call home.
As climate change worsens and disasters become more frequent and damaging, we have taken a look at our sector's recent work to support people impacted by disasters. This story comes from qualitative and quantitative data from community legal centres across Australia that have played a role in disaster response.
In 2021 the Family Violence Legal Service Aboriginal Corporation of South Australia (FVLSAC) won a grant from the Office of the eSafety Commissioner to adapt information about technology-facilitated abuse to be culturally appropriate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women across the service areas of Port Augusta, Whyalla, Port Lincoln, Ceduna and surrounding regions
FVLSAC consulted widely with community members to ensure the ideas of Aboriginal women were incorporated into the project. The result is a set of fourteen unique 'yarning cards' designed for women to use in group settings.