WCC Annual Report - Page 27

Whittlesea Community Legal Service (WCLS) Report The Whittlesea Community Legal Service (WCLS) provides services to ensure that those who are unable to afford private legal assistance have access to the law. Our legal team takes pride in grounding its approach and priorities on the needs and experiences of the local community and throughout 2011-12 legal advice and casework formed the backbone of the team’s work. Day-time, evening and outreach appointments were all made available to ensure that our lawyers were accessible to as many in our community as resources allowed. Number of advice undertaken Number of files opened 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012 Number of files open as at 30 June 2012 Number of information and referrals Total number of people assisted 1,167 379 259 211 1,524 An analysis of our legal statistics gives a more accurate insight into the emerging legal needs of the community. Family law remains the number one reason people seek assistance from the WCLS but we have seen immigration related matters move from third place in our top ten last year to second place in this year. Family violence is fifth behind a myriad of traffic related legal matters and the experience of our staff and volunteers indicate that family violence levels within the community are at acute levels. Legal issues – Top 10 1 2 3 4 Family Law Immigraion Motor vehicle accidents Trafffic Offences 614 75 63 55 5 6 7 8 9 10 Family/domestic violence Neighbourhood disputes Credit and debt Consumer disputes Property related Fines and other civil Clients - country of birth – Top 10 45 30 23 21 20 19 1 2 3 4 Australia Iraq India Macedonia 614 75 63 55 5 6 7 8 9 10 Italy Lebanon Turkey Iran China Greece and Sri Lanka 45 30 23 21 20 19 Our clients were born in 78 different countries, including Australia, with approximately 59% born overseas. Outreach Our commitment to be accessible to all sections of the community has included investing in the provision of outreach services for those who have transport or other barriers to attending at our Epping offices. During the year WCLS services and legal appointments were provided at the following locations in addition to Epping: • • • • • • Whittlesea Township at Plenty Valley Community Health Mill Park at Mill Park Community House Lalor at Anglicare, (for women involved in family law/domestic violence matters) South Morang at Kildonan Uniting Care Greensborough at Greensborough Family Relationship Centre (GFRC) Laurimar Estate (Doreen) at Laurimar Community Activity Centre We remain grateful to the community services who have offered their facilities for our outreach programs. 26