Roots of Change is a storytelling platform dedicated to the Alumni community of The Funding Network Australia. Here we share their stories of ingenuity, courage, determination, spirit, growth and the impact these grassroots organisations have had, as a direct result of funds and support received from The Funding Network community.

Inner Melbourne Community Legal

Inner Melbourne Community Legal


Providing discreet, free legal help to people on low incomes in the inner Melbourne City area.

IMCL is a committed team of community lawyers and volunteers, who partner with the Royal Women's Hospital, to help identify and intervene on behalf of women experiencing abuse, in a place where they feel comfortable, safe and without their partner's knowledge. IMCL give women, who might otherwise be too fearful to come forward, access to free advice under the cloak of routine medical appointments.

2016 Pitch
Funds raised: $29,850

IMCL raised $29,850 at TFN Melbourne event in November 2016 with the funds going towards supporting an early intervention program on-site at the Royal Women's Hospital, providing free, timely legal advice to women at high-risk of family violence.

The impact...

The Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne sees around 9,000 births a year. For most of these new mums this is an exciting new chapter in their lives, but for some women this is a time of distress and increased risk to ­­family violence. During their time in the hospital, however, Inner Melbourne Community Legal (IMCL) has recognised a critical window of opportunity to reach out and support these women. Most people will talk to their doctor or nurse or social worker about a legal problem before ever thinking of going to a lawyer. So, to fill this gap they have set up free legal clinics in the hospital for these women to access sound advice and arm themselves with knowledge of their rights and the legal protections they can take, all under the guise of routine medical appointments.  

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In November 2016, Senior Lawyer Linda Gyorki from IMCL pitched at TFN Live in Melbourne to run these life-saving clinics, stating that their effectiveness is because front line health professionals – like doctors and nurses – are the major professional group to have details of family violence disclosed to them. And, thanks to the generous support from the TFN community, not only were they able to run these legal clinics for over 60 women, but they were also able to train 50 hospital staff to better identify the warning signs. Here are some of the outcomes:

• 72% of clients surveyed felt that the legal issue they were seeing the lawyer about had an impact on their health and wellbeing;

• Stress experienced by clients because of their legal issue stemmed from being overwhelmed by the legal processes and uncertainty about their legal options;

• 75% of clients surveyed had a Kessler 10 score of over 20, indicating mild to severe distress;

• 61% of clients surveyed thought that the legal advice they had received had a positive impact on their health and wellbeing. Client responses indicated that gaining a better understanding and receiving the support required to navigate their legal issues provided a sense of relief and control; and

• After the legal consultation, 76% of clients felt they could cope better with their legal issues, compared to before the legal consultation (44%).

Read their Impact Report

Learn more about Inner Melbourne Community Legal.

Law and Advocacy Centre for Women

Law and Advocacy Centre for Women

The Pinnacle Foundation

The Pinnacle Foundation