Page updated May 17, 2019

Hon. Justice Jennifer Coate (AO) Patron of ECLC

May 17, 2019

Eastern Community Legal Centre (ECLC) is pleased to announce its new patron, the Honourable Justice Jennifer Coate AO – former Judge of the Family Court of Australia and former Commissioner on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

ECLC Chairperson Janet Matton announced the Centre’s new patron at its Volunteers and Partnership Dinner held on 15 May 2019 in Mount Waverley.

As keynote speaker at the dinner, Justice Coate reflected on the dinner’s theme of ‘Out of the Shadows – Exploring Injustice’ in the context of her work as Royal Commissioner and her impressive legal career with the County Court of Victoria, as State Coroner, and in other senior judicial roles with the Children’s Court and the Magistrates’ Court.

ECLC’s CEO Michael Smith said ECLC is thrilled to have The Hon. Justice Jennifer Coate advocating for ECLC and the people who need the services ECLC provides.

This year’s dinner theme enabled ECLC to highlight recent developments, particularly new funding for elder abuse and how it is addressing family violence.

“Behind the scenes, there has been a growing movement of people and agencies in the east who have been concerned about older people experiencing abuse.

“ECLC’s new partnership with Eastern Health builds on the longstanding work of the Eastern Elder Abuse Network and all of the committed agencies, professionals and community members who have advocated for a stronger response for highly vulnerable older community members.

“While ECLC has provided free legal advice and other resources for the past decade to help prevent the abuse of older people in the community, the recently awarded $3 million of Australian Government funding over the next three years will enable ECLC and Eastern Health to identify and respond to elder abuse as early as possible,” Michael said.

ECLC addresses family violence through two major projects, Mabels and SAGE.

Mabels provides an early intervention response to family violence by integrating legal help and specialist support services into universal health settings.

SAGE overcomes barriers that can make it more difficult for some women experiencing family violence to access help by targeting services to priority groups, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

The Volunteers and Partnership Dinner is ECLC’s annual event for acknowledging its over 100 extraordinary volunteers and the many strong partnerships that make ECLC’s work possible and that help amplify its reach and impact.

Since the dinner’s inception in 2007, the annual event attracts a large gathering of guests including lawyer and paralegal volunteers, key legal and community agencies, MPs local councillors and supporters.

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