Below are some of the reports on the important work by our grantees over the years.
Reducing Recidivism, Jesuit Social Services, 2020
This is the largest known study analysing the circumstances and needs of people on Community Corrections Orders (CCOs) and one of few that draws on lived experiences. The report explores ways to improve access to education, training and employment for people on CCOs as a means to reduce recidivism.
Given the context of Victoria’s burgeoning prison population, there is a stronger case than ever for ensuring that CCOs are used by the courts wherever appropriate and that those who receive these sentences have the support and opportunities that they need to make positive changes towards living crime-free lives. Until now, there has been remarkably little research attention given to people on community-based orders such as CCOs in Australia and internationally. This report contributes to an improved understanding of the profile of the men and women in this cohort, their needs and barriers to inclusion in the mainstream community.
Constellation of Circumstances, Fitzroy Legal Service and La Trobe Centre for Health Law and Society, 2020
The Women Transforming Justice project, funded through the VLSB+C's grant program, were joint authors of this report The Constellation of Circumstances report is a summary of the findings of a study investigating the reasons for significant growth in women’s rates of remand in Victoria.
The study involved the examination of prison entrance and Bail and Remand Court data, analysis of court observations and 13 semi-structured interviews with criminal defence and duty lawyers. The authors found that policing has become ‘tougher’ under Victoria’s new bail regime, significantly impacting on the rate of women being remanded.
“It’s healing to hear another person’s story and also to tell your own story”, RMIT Centre for Innovative Justice, 2019
This project sought to better meet the needs of victims of crime and improve the criminal justice system by developing a restorative justice model focused on those affected by driving incidents resulting in death or serious injury. Research findings show that restorative justice processes (RJP) deliver a range of benefits to victims who take part in them. At the time of receiving the grant, the only existing RJP program in Victoria that responded to criminal offences operated solely within the youth jurisdiction. This project was the first to focus on adult offending and was motivated by the potential benefit to the victim. The project also brought to light a pre-existing demand for restorative justice processes in Victoria and responded to this demand by providing a robust model for future replication and expansion.
Hear Us: The experience of people with Complex Communications Needs in accessing justice, Federation University, 2019
Completed at the end of 2018, Complex Communication Needs was a two year research project funded to identify strategies to assist justice agencies to enhance their response to people with complex communication needs (CCN).
The research participants included seven persons who identified as having CCN and four parent/advocates of people with CCN.
A 93 page report on their findings has been published and includes ten recommendations to further inform the justice system response to persons with CCN.
Sporting Change: Empowering Young People, Springvale Monash Legal Service, 2018
In 2016 we provided a grant to Springvale Monash Legal Service to combine sport-based engagement strategies with legal education at Narre Warren South P-12 College. Their aim was to decrease young people having negative interactions with the justice system.
In 2018 we funded them to replicate this successful service at Cranbourne East Secondary College.
Some of their achievements and note-worthy outcomes include:
- 98% of participants reported that learning about legal rights and responsibilities had significantly and positively impacted their life.
- 94% reported increased knowledge of possible consequences if they or someone they knew got in trouble with the law.
- 93% reported a changed attitude towards Police, PSOs and other people in authority.
Legal Responses to One Punch Homicide in Victoria: Understanding the impact of law reform, Monash University, 2018
This research project was the first to critically analyse whether Victorian homicide laws enabled a just response to one punch homicides prior to 2014 reforms.
The research findings by Kate Fitz-Gibbon of Monash University have contributed to improved understandings of the reforms required nationally to improve legal responses to alcohol-fuelled violence.
Combining in-depth interviews with case analysis, the research examines both the outcomes of the law (in terms of conviction and sentencing) as well as the process and practice of the law in reaching those outcomes.
The Social Security Online project from Social Security Rights Victoria was funded to establish an online portal which responds to an unmet need for job seekers to voice about their experience with Employment Service Providers. Their JobVoice website has won the National Rural Law and Justice Award 2015 for Transformative Use of Technology in the Law which was announced in July at the annual National Rural Law and Justice Conference.
For more detail of the project, please visit the Social Security Rights Victoria website.
See also the JobVoice website.
Advancing Community Justice
Creating fairer outcomes through law reform and policy work is a project that conducts proactive law reform and policy work in the key areas of civil justice, police accountability and family violence.
The project, undertaken by the Federation of Community Legal Centres secured funding from the Legal Services Board’s grants program in 2011, and aimed to develop a better and fairer legal system by conducting proactive law reform and policy work in three key areas of civil justice, police accountability and family violence. In addition, it also aimed to develop a resource and a training program to help community legal centres and other non-government organisations conduct effective law reform and policy work.
A web-based, The Change Toolkit, was published in February 2015 which provides CLCs and NGOs a lasting resource to identify systemic issues affecting their clients.
The Report – Tracking Protective Services Officers: Insights from the first three year, was published in June 2015 has informed commuters about their rights with respect to Protective Services Officers.
For details on The Change Toolkit, please visit the Change Tooklit website.
Making the law work better for people affected by cancer
The McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer, supported by a Legal Services Board grants program in 2012, commenced a project on legal issues for people affected by cancer. The Centre undertook consultation across regional and metropolitan Victoria on these areas: Financial support for transport and accommodation for cancer patients and carers in regional areas; Employment, including discrimination, access to workplace rights and returning to work; Discrimination in insurance; and Decision making at the end-of-life.
The first report titled Making the law work better for people affected by cancer which includes recommendations for law reform around the legal focus areas in March 2014, the second report was released in March 2015. This report built on their earlier one and examines two further topics: informed consent to cancer treatment, including informed financial consent, and the regulation of unregistered complementary and alternative medicine practitioners.
Legal and Health alliances
Linda Gyorki, Senior Project Manager & Lawyer, Inner Melbourne Community Legal, was fortunate to receive a Churchill Fellowship to study Advocacy Health Alliances in 3 countries. Her report– Breaking down the silos: Overcoming the Practical and Ethical Barriers of Integrating Legal Assistance into a Health Setting, is now available.
‘It is hoped that this report will act as a catalyst for the establishment of partnerships between legal services and health-care institutions in increasingly diverse contexts.’ Linda Gyorki.
The report can be obtained from the Churchill Trust website.
Shining a light on law and markets in private land conservation
In 2014 the Trust for Nature completed two reports funded by the Victorian Legal Services Board examining environmental markets.
- Shining a Light on Law and Markets in Private Land Conservation: Insights and Issues from Victorian Landowners
- Land-Based Environmental Markets and the Law: the evolving legal landscape underpinning ecosystem services markets in Victoria
The project partnered with Victoria Naturally Alliance and aims to gain a better understanding of market- based mechanisms to promote private land conservation as well as addressing a perceived information gap in understanding the legal and financial aspects from a landowner’s perspective.
For details of the report and project, please visit the Trust for Nature website.
Self-represented people at the Family Law Courts
Being at Court for the Final Hearing of a family law case can be overwhelming. In order to provide some of the basic information you need to know about how a day is likely to proceed and what you need to do, Court Network has produced A Resource Booklet as part of an enhanced program at the Family Law Courts.
Court Network provides information, support and referral service to people when they are at Court. This booklet supports an expanded service for people who are attending a Final Hearing of a family law dispute, but who don’t have a lawyer.
This service, funded through a 2013 Major Grant, provides more intensive support and for longer than the regular Court Network services.
For detail of the booklet, please visit the Court Network website.
Mental health and the legal profession
There has been growing awareness in the Australian legal profession since 2007 that lawyers are more likely than the general population to experience depression and anxiety. In late 2011, the LIV obtained funding for the Legal Services Board Grants program for the Mental Health and the Legal Profession project in order to: (1)operate a pilot health and wellbeing service providing independent and confidential services for lawyers;
(2) undertake a literature review on lawyer personality traits and the susceptibilities toward particular forms of psychological distress; and (3)scope out options for an ongoing lawyers’ health program.
Following a period of research and consultation, the project has now come to an end and the LIV launched a report on the findings on 9 September 2014. The mental health report sets out detailed proposals for the introduction of a preventative health and wellbeing strategy for the Victorian legal community.
For details of the full report, please visit the Law Institute of Victoria website.