Who do we assist?
FVPLS Victoria provides legal services to Aboriginal women, men and children
who are victims/survivors of sexual assault or family violence or who are at
immediate risk of family violence or sexual assault.
We also assist non-Aboriginal parents or carers of Aboriginal children who are
victims/survivors of family violence or sexual assault.
We do not provide support to perpetrators of family violence or sexual assault.
We can refer perpetrators to services which are able to assist them.
What do we do?
FVPLS Victoria is able to provide a range of LEGAL SERVICES, including advice
and advocacy in relation to:
• reporting family violence to police
• reporting sexual assault to police
• support for criminal cases relating to crimes against you, committed
in the context of family violence
• VOCAT assistance
• child protection
• intervention orders issued in relation to family violence
• safety notices
• family law
• legal issues connected to a family violence situation such as: complaints
about police; assistance with Centrelink or the Child Support Agency; and problems
with the Office of Housing about damage to your house.
Who are our legal service staff?
Our staff include LAWYERS and PARALEGAL WORKERS.
LAWYERS are available to help you with legal advice about:
• Applying for financial assistance, such as for counselling, medical
treatment and other expenses incurred to assist recovery, which is available
for victims of violent crime through Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT)
o In some cases, VOCAT can assist with urgent expenses assistance where
a crime has recently happened.
o Personal injury or ‘civil’ claims will be referred to private
• Child Protection matters - DHS involvement with your family in relation
o DHS making an assessment of your children’s safety
o placing children with another family member
o applications to the Children’s Court where children are assessed as
being at risk of harm or when DHS asks for orders to be extended
o challenging DHS case plan decisions
o children in foster care or who are placed in out-of-home care
o other Child Protection matters.
Please note: In relation to child protection matters, it is extremely
important, and in your best interests, to get legal advice as soon as DHS make
• Intervention Orders – advice, preparation and court representation
for applications to the Magistrates’ Court for intervention orders to
prevent a perpetrator from harming you with physical, emotional, verbal or financial
abuse i.e. an order aims to prevent a person from coming near you, your house
or your children. Even when police assist you by taking out an urgent safety
notice after hours, it is recommended that you get your own legal advice as
soon as possible.
• Family Law – living or visiting arrangements for children in
cases where parents have separated, divorced or divided property.
• Reporting family violence and sexual assaults to the police.
• Advocating for you in relation to criminal cases for crimes against
• Complaints about police – advice about the processes available
to lodge a complaint about police action or inaction in family violence or sexual
• Our Mildura office can also help with New South Wales legal problems
including Apprehended Violence Orders, the Victims Compensation Tribunal and
PARALEGAL WORKERS are available to assist you with:
• Information about family violence
• Information about legal and other options available following an incident
of family violence or sexual assault
• Information about court processes
• Court support for attending court hearings
• Support when reporting crimes to the police
• Organising counselling
• Referral to other local services that provide support for survivors
of family violence or sexual assault, such as:
o Centre Against Sexual Assault (CASA)
o family violence support service
o women’s refuges
o family support from an Aboriginal organisation
o men’s behaviour change programs
• We are also able to help with applications for housing and Centrelink
What are our priorities?
Our priorities in providing legal services are as follows:
• Improving the system
Service Charter sets out the standards of service we are committed to providing
to our clients.
Information you give to staff at FVPLS Victoria is private and will not be disclosed
to anyone without your written permission. FVPLS Victoria is an independent,
stand-alone organisation. Your privacy is guaranteed. If FVPLS Victoria has
assisted a person with whom you are in dispute, we will explain that we have
a conflict of interest and will refer you to other services.
As a victim/survivor of family violence, the safety of you and your family is
the number one priority. In providing legal advice, and assisting you to decide
whether to take legal action, we will always prioritise your safety.
FVPLS Victoria understands how difficult it is to make decisions, particularly
legal decisions, when you are dealing with a crisis. Staff at FVPLS Victoria
understand that you have many concerns, including around safe housing, financial
support, medical care and finding the right support, such as counselling. We
also understand you may need assistance in dealing with the courts, police,
DHS and Centrelink. Our staff have the knowledge and experience to support you
in these areas and will use their networks in the community to ensure that you
receive the assistance you need, from people you can trust.
In giving advice and assistance, FVPLS Victoria acknowledges the serious impact
family violence has on children, both as direct victims and as witnesses of
violence in the home.
Staff at FVPLS Victoria will provide legal information and answers to your questions.
These will be explained clearly and simply so that you can make well-informed
decisions that are best for you.
FVPLS Victoria understands that family violence and sexual assault impact on
people differently and that this impact can continue for some time. Our staff
will explain your legal options, offer support and move at a pace that you are
happy with (given that sometimes the legal system dictates what happens and
when). If needed, we are also able to refer you to a culturally appropriate
counselling service for additional support.
IMPROVING THE SYSTEM
FVPLS Victoria is committed to advocating for improvements in the way that the
community, the legal system and authorities respond to and address family violence
and sexual assault. Through the work we do with our clients, and the feedback
we receive, we promote legal and policy change. FVPLS Victoria will take up
issues of concern which come to our attention and we encourage as much input
as possible from community members.