In our 2022 Grants round, we have awarded $4.8 million in funding to support 16 projects being delivered by legal and community organisations in Victoria. These projects will help people across the state gain better access to justice.
Bunjilwarra Justice Coordination Project
This project will provide coordinated legal assistance to Aboriginal young people aged 16 to 25 who are referred from the justice system to Bunjilwarra’s residential rehabilitation and healing program. A justice worker will be employed to help residents resolve their legal issues, with a combined focus on improving health and justice outcomes. Staff and residents will also learn about restorative justice.
Worowa Aboriginal College
$400,000 over three years
This project will pilot restorative justice services in Melbourne’s outer east. The focus is on addressing harm through conciliation and providing opportunities for Aboriginal children and young people to stay out of the justice system and connect with self, family, community and culture. The long-term goal is to embed restorative convening skills in Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations across Victoria.
Justice at Home
Northern Community Legal Centre
$81,000 over one year
This project will evaluate the benefits and constraints of using remote technology in Victoria’s courts to manage family violence intervention orders. It will compare the experiences of victim-survivors who attended hearings in person versus those who attended virtually, with a view to improving service delivery and enhancing safety.
Rental Minimum Standards and Repair Hub
$328,000 over two years
This project will establish an online help tool and single point of contact for enquires about repairs to rental properties, as well as a compensation clinic for eligible renters. The goal is to inform renters of their rights under Victoria’s minimum rental standards and how to act on those rights to ensure properties are safe and healthy to live in.
First Step Legal and Launch Housing Health Justice Partnership
$200,000 over two years
This project will provide onsite legal support to women in crisis accommodation who have experienced trauma and violence. A lawyer and a paralegal will be employed to attend the housing service in St Kilda on a weekly basis, alongside a general practitioner and a mental health nurse. Together they will form an integrated health and justice partnership providing multidisciplinary services where residents feel safest.
Understanding the Experiences of Modern Slavery Survivors in the Victorian Criminal Justice System
$68,000 over 14 months
This project will gather case studies and interviews with survivors of modern slavery who have also had contact with the criminal justice system. The qualitative data will be used to inform recommendations for reducing barriers, such as fear of prosecution, which prevent survivors from seeking help.
Innovative Early Support Service for young people using violence
$300,000 over one-and-a-half years
This is the second stage of a project we previously funded looking at early support options for addressing the significant and complex issues faced by young people who use violence in the home. The additional funding will be used to employ a family violence lawyer and a social worker to further refine, deliver and promote the multidisciplinary model, which will cover three court regions in the western, northern and inner suburbs of Melbourne.
Whistleblowers' Legal Project
Human Rights Law Centre
$320,000 over three years
This project will establish Australia’s first dedicated whistleblowing legal project. The new project will provide specialist support to help protect the legal rights of people who expose misconduct in the public and private sectors. This will bring Australia in line with other comparable nations in making it safer to lawfully speak up about wrongdoing when it is in the public interest to do so.
Strengthening Supports within SRS
Mental Health Legal Centre
$200,000 over one year
This project will develop an effective and innovative model for integrating legal, non-legal and advocacy services to better meet the complex needs of people living with mental illness and psychiatric disability in supported residential services (SRSs) in Victoria. The Mental Health Legal Centre will work within SRSs to identify, address and resolve civil and minor criminal matters impacting on the lives of residents.
Sex Worker Legal Program
$350,000 over three years
This project will deliver a specialist legal program for sex workers in Victoria, helping them understand their rights, protections and entitlements. The focus will be on providing accessible and accurate information about decriminalisation, as well as timely legal advice, referrals and representation on other legal matters, including employment, discrimination, consumer, tenancy and victims of crime assistance.
Meeting the civil law needs of at risk young people
Barwon Community Legal Service
$500,000 over three years
This project is a partnership with Barwon Child Youth and Family and The Geelong Project to design and pilot an early intervention program aimed at addressing the civil law needs of young people who are at risk of leaving school or becoming homeless. It will also develop online resources for youth workers and establish a statewide working group to promote innovative, evidence-based approaches for keeping disengaged young people out of the justice system.
Leveraging DSPHelp to address Centrelink overpayments
Social Security Rights Victoria
$380,000 over two years
This project will help social security applicants and recipients who are engaged in disputes over Centrelink overpayments get access to fair and adequate income support. It will build on the experience, technology and tools gained from another project we funded – a website and chatbot called DSPHelp that guides people through the process of applying for disability support payments. The funding will also go towards strengthening and promoting DSPHelp.
A home of your own: keeping women and children safely housed
$185,000 over one-and-a-half years
This project will design and deliver a digital self-help tool for women experiencing family violence, making it easier for them to understand their legal rights under Victoria’s rental laws. It will address a lack of awareness around newly legislated protections, which were introduced to ensure women can stay safely housed and avoid financial loss. The tool is intended to empower women to take early preventative action.
Police Complaints and Oversight Project
Inner Melbourne Community Legal
$520,000 over two years
This project will improve legal and wellbeing outcomes for people affected by police misconduct. It will co-design a statewide service model for delivering fair and equal access to the proposed new Victoria Police complaints and oversight system, while working to ensure the system meets international benchmarks.
Improving legal and financial outcomes for ‘lemon car’ consumers in Victoria
Consumer Action Law Centre
$273,000 over two years
This project will coordinate a campaign to make accessing redress easier for Victorians who are sold ‘lemon cars’ – that is, cars that show significant signs of failure or defects soon after purchase. An advocacy group will be established to drive reform, including developing a fully costed alternative model for resolving disputes with sellers.
Integrated Legal Practice – Impact and Influence
Eastern Community Legal Centre
$300,000 over three years
The profound impact and value of multidisciplinary approaches is proven and expanding across legal assistance services, particularly for people experiencing complex challenges in family violence, mental health and disability. Through partnership with key stakeholders and leaders and drawing on lived experience expertise, the project will identify and amplify opportunities for broad system reform and building professional and organisational capacity.
More information about our 2022 grants is available from the Grants Program.