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Free legal help for COVID impacted communities

Last published on 16 Oct 2020 in Media Releases

Victim-survivors of domestic and family violence and those who have been impacted by COVID-19 will benefit from new funding to the community legal assistance sector.

Attorney General and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Mark Speakman today announced the allocation of $5.43 million in Commonwealth funding to community legal centres delivering frontline services to people experiencing disadvantage and discrimination.

“The dual global health and economic crises have created unprecedented demand for community legal services. This funding will see more free legal support than ever for people facing job losses, financial insecurity and tenancy issues,” Mr Speakman said.

“Recent alarming reports have suggested the pandemic is increasing the risk of domestic abuse in the home. Almost 80 percent of this funding will support services for people facing domestic and family violence to help victim-survivors get the legal support they need, hold perpetrators to account and ultimately save lives.”

Funding will benefit a range of specialist centres providing targeted support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, seniors, people with disabilities, young people and migrants and refugees, and generalist centres from Lismore to Broken Hill.

Community Legal Centres NSW Executive Director Tim Leach welcomed the funding boost which forms part of the Commonwealth Government’s $15.6 million investment to support NSW legal assistance services impacted by COVID-19.

“NSW’s community legal centres have responded swiftly and effectively to the challenges presented by disasters like droughts, bushfires or a global pandemic and found new ways to support our communities through times of crisis,” Mr Leach said.

“This funding is critical to our capacity to respond to huge increases in COVID-related demand. Centres have terrific plans for fast-track projects that will deliver innovative and efficient legal supports into communities.”

The Attorney General has accepted the recommendations of an expert evaluation panel that all 34 community legal centres that made an application receive funding.

This announcement builds on the NSW Government’s record investments into the community legal sector, with more than $40 million injected into community legal centres over three years. Find out more about how community legal centres can support you by visiting the Community Legal Centres NSW website.

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