Law and Advocacy Centre for Women
Providing pro-bono legal and social support services to women who are not otherwise eligible for legal aid.
LACW provides pro-bono legal and social support services to women who most often find themselves in the justice system as a result of violent domestic circumstances and severe disadvantage.
Funds raised: $39,620
LACW pitched for $39,620 to employ a welfare case-manager to work alongside the legal team to create a more robust and holistic service offering, including therapeutic support and referrals to other essential service providers in support of women who have found themselves in contact with the legal system, often as a result of domestic violence.
Women are one of the most overrepresented groups in the justice system. In Victoria, between 2007-2011 the number of women in prison increased almost 25%, with one in ten identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. When Jill Prior, the Principal Legal Officer of the Law and Advocacy Centre for Women pitched at TFN Melbourne in 2017, she reminded us that behind each of these numbers is a human story.
When a woman is involved in the justice system, it’s not just her that is impacted. It’s her children, her family and her community. Women rarely present with single legal issues, and the Law and Advocacy Centre for Women believes that simply processing these women doesn’t solve the core issues behind it. Their solution was to create a therapeutic arm within their legal practice and help address the issues these women are facing with a holistic approach. Thanks to the kind support from the donors at TFN Melbourne, they have been able to hire a case manager to provide the support necessary for these women addressing a range of factors, including addiction, mental health, housing and family violence. Here's one woman’s story:
“When Tessa* first contacted our service, she had a range of issues impacting her life - she was dealing with the trauma of fleeing a violent relationship, she had a large number of fines relating to driving which were the responsibility of her abusive ex-partner, and she was also facing minor criminal charges resulting from her association with people she was sharing a house with in order to try to save money. Added to this were significant mental health issues and previous discrimination, which was still having an impact on her. Without a dedicated, in-house case-manager, the lawyers at LACW were struggling to give her the support for her non-legal needs.
Since employing a case manager using the funds received from The Funding Network community, LACW has been able to fully support Tessa and provide a wrap-around service that addresses her non-legal needs as well as her legal problems. Their case manager has helped Tessa access the support she needs to assist with her mental health, trauma and housing issues. She has a plan in place to tackle her fines, and she is getting her life back on track.
"With the support of our case manager, Tessa is empowered to deal with the issues in her life that brought her into the justice system in the first place, and find a pathway out” - Jill Prior, Principal Legal Officer.
* Tessa’s name has been changed to protect her identity.
Read their Impact Report