Page updated September 4, 2020

ECLC shares its experience in family violence reform

September 4, 2020

As a multidisciplinary legal service that delivers across the prevention, early intervention and response continuum, ECLC shared its views and considerable experience in implementing effective family violence reform with the Family Violence Reform Implementation Monitor (Monitor).

ECLC’s key recommendation to governments is that they should support integrated-practice funding models to bring services and service hubs together, rather than supporting siloed models which has been the traditional and less successful approach for implementing family violence reform.

ECLC’s Principal Lawyer Belinda Lo said the family violence system needs to respond in a way which best meets the needs of the entire community.

“Services addressing family violence need to work together and should be recognised across the continuum of prevention, early intervention and response, which was also acknowledged in the Royal Commission into Family Violence Report,” said Belinda.

One of ECLC’s main priorities in providing essential services to people and communities in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne is to advocate against family violence, which mostly affects women and children. In addition to its generalist legal program, ECLC manages a number of specific family violence programs where advice and casework ranges from family violence matters, intake and triage, legal work, prevention, early intervention, education, volunteer training, and communication.

ECLC’s key integrated practice programs include:

Family violence:

  • Mabels – A Health Justice Partnership providing early intervention legal advice to new mothers;
  • SAGE – A family violence case management program providing intensive case management with a lawyer, family violence advocate and financial counsellor; and
  • WELS – A Health Justice Partnership providing early intervention legal advice to pregnant women.

Elder abuse:

  • ROSE – A legal, financial and integrated service providing support for victims of elder abuse.
  • ELSA – A Health Justice Partnership providing integrated advocacy, legal and financial advice on elder abuse.

The above programs are independently and rigorous evaluated to measure their success. However, they are not without their challenges.

The Monitor’s role is to check the progress of reforms related to family violence across Victoria.  In particular, her role has been focused on the progression and implementation of the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Family Violence which were publically released in 2016.

The Monitor invited organisations and individual practitioners who work with people who have experienced or perpetrated family violence; and/or represented and advocated for victim survivors to share their views and experiences. In response to this, ECLC discussed and shared its experience and views of:

  • Integrated practice programs and integrating essential legal and other services
  • Courts and access to legal services
  • Elder Abuse – primary prevention/early intervention/response
  • Gaps in legal services
  • Future planning needs
  • Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read ECLC’s submission to the Monitor.

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