WCC Annual Report - Page 22

Whittlesea Community Legal Service The Whittlesea Community Legal Service (WCLS) aims to address the barriers that prevent people from accessing the justice system. WCLS achieves this by providing a range of legal services that include ? Casework ? Community legal education and ? Law reform WCLS’s strategy is to respond to the needs of Whittlesea’s communities by providing information, legal advice and education and by focusing on providing legal services to those who need it the most. We pride ourselves on taking our lead from the local community and forming our priorities and activities based on those needs. During 2012/13 WCLS was supported by the state government through funding administered by Victoria Legal Aid and by funding from the Commonwealth Attorney General’s department. This financial year has seen us build on our performance on previous years. We exceeded our target for the number of legal cases we opened by 18% and the number of cases closed (finalised) by 86%. We also overshot our target for provision of legal advice by almost 93%. ? Legal referrals made 1,585 ? Legal advice and information given 1,241 ? Cases opened 389 ? Cases finalised 354 ? Cases open as at 30 June 2013 293 WCLS clients and service users came from 74 different countries with almost 52% being born overseas. 1. Australia 2. Iraq 54 3. India/Macedonia 43 4. Italy 34 5. Iran 26 6. Greece 21 7. Sri Lanka 20 8. Lebanon/Philippines 9. England 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Whittlesea Township (at Plenty Valley Community Health) Mill Park (at Mill Park Community House) Lalor (at Anglicare for women involved in family law/violence) South Morang (at Kildonan UnitingCare) Greensborough (at Greensborough Family Relationship Centre) Doreen ( at Laurimar Community Activity Centre) The coming year will also see us further extend our legal services to the Thomastown area as we utilise the Thomastown West Community Hub based at Thomastown Primary School. A key component of our outreach program is our arrangement with the Greensborough Family Relationship Centre. Through our partnership with the GFRC we provide information sessions, advice and casework for separating couples. Our work provides an important opportunity for parents to agree arrangements for their children without resorting to the courts and avoiding long-protracted disputes. 457 advice and information activities were provided during the year, 128% above target. As part of our strategy to remove access barriers to legal services, a weekly Monday night service is provided for those unable to access day-time appointments. Statistics show 216 advice activities were provided by our nightservice volunteer solicitors. Additionally, there were 110 matters representing 50 problem types that were referred to other agencies during the period. Additionally 192 referrals were received by the N ????M??????????????)?????????]????????????????????????????????)??????????????????((??(??((???? ?????9??i??????((???()=???????????5???????????????)] 1L?????????????????????????????????????????????)????????????????????????????????????????]?)???????????????]??????????????????????????)??????????????????????????????????????????)??????????????????????????????????????????????)???????????????????????????????????????????????)????????????????????????????????????????)?????????????????????????????????????????????)???]???????? ???????????((??()Q???????????????? ???((??((