Goulburn Valley CLC is a generalist CLC that undertakes a range of activities, including:
- legal assistance (information, referral, advice and casework)
- community development and legal education
- law reform and special projects
Goulburn Valley CLC operates across the Goulburn Valley (Greater Shepparton, Mitchell,
Strathbogie, Benalla and Moira shires). It is a division of Loddon Campaspe CLC.
We continued to develop and strengthen our relationships with other service providers in our community and participated in a number of joint activities, including the White Ribbon campaign,
the Koori Court Reference Group, the Shepparton Law Courts Redevelopment Steering Committee, the Goulburn Valley Family Law Pathways Network, the Therapeutic Justice Project Reference Group, the CALD Community Committee and the Goulburn Valley Family Violence Prevention Network.
Goulburn Valley CLC staff attended the 2015 National Association of Community Legal Centres Conference in Melbourne and undertook numerous Continuing Professional Development and other training opportunities, especially those provided through our partnership with the Women’s Legal Service. Our Managing Lawyer, Kaz Gurney, also attended the Therapeutic Justice Conference in Auckland.
Goulburn Valley CLC made oral submissions to the Victorian Law Reform Commission inquiries into funerals and burials and the role of victims in the criminal trial process. We also made oral
submissions to the Department of Justice and Regulation’s Access to Justice Review. The centre engaged in several funding rounds and was awarded grants for family violence and
other legal education activities from the Victorian Government and the ANZ Seeds project. These grants enhanced our capacity to provide community legal education in outreach locations. An
application for a major grant from Victoria Legal Aid’s Innovations & Transformation Scheme was also successful, which will allow us to develop a major Health-Justice Partnership with Rumbalara Aboriginal Cooperative.
Core Services and Programs
Shepparton-based generalist services
Goulburn Valley CLC Lawyers provided face-to-face advice and casework in Shepparton and at outreach clinics after court in Cobram and Seymour. Tuesday Evening Advice clinics were supported by local volunteer Lawyers and supervised by Goulburn Valley CLC Lawyers.
Goulburn Valley CLC provided information, advice and casework services in relation to family law, credit and debt, fines, crime, government complaints, consumer law and neighbourhood disputes. Where we were unable to assist, we provided information and relevant referrals.
Family Violence Prevention Legal Service
Goulburn Valley CLC provided family violence prevention Duty Lawyer services at Shepparton, Bendigo, Seymour, Cobram and Benalla courts. We provided nuanced, respectful and quality family violence legal services, despite a changing environment, high client volumes and funding gaps. We have renewed our collaborative work with many other services and are active in family violence prevention networks.
Benalla Health-Justice Partnership
In 2015-16 Goulburn Valley CLC entered into a partnership with Benalla Health Service. Our Lawyer attended the service one day per week to provide legal advice and casework to health service clients and other disadvantaged members of the local community dealing with legal issues.
Our Benalla Lawyer and Therapeutic Justice Lawyer delivered Legal Health Check education to health service staff, to help therapists understand the types of legal issues that might impact on their clients’ health and to help them make appropriate referrals.
Therapeutic Justice Program
Goulburn Valley CLC secured a three-year grant from the Legal Services Board and Commissioner to deliver a therapeutic justice model in the Goulburn Valley. The program is an innovative and collaborative service based on the principles of therapeutic jurisprudence. It targets people with complex health-care needs and related legal issues who are users of the Shepparton Magistrates’ Court.
The program has its foundations in a Health-Justice Partnership between Goulburn Valley CLC and Primary Care Connect. The program lawyer provides legal information, advice and advocacy assistance to program participants and legal education to relevant health and social services. The program Case Manager is an allied health professional who connects participants in the program to appropriate support services in the areas of health, social and cultural support (of particular importance to Koori participants and new arrivals to the Shepparton community).
Community Legal Education Program
Community legal education is a core component of Goulburn Valley CLC’s work. We frequently respond to ad-hoc requests from schools and community organisations to deliver plain-language legal education to students, staff and members.
In 2015-16 Goulburn Valley CLC launched its Issues in Criminal Sentencing Community Legal Education Project and a series of Legal Health Check education sessions, both of which promoted therapeutic justice concepts to other agencies and the broader community.
For more information about this program, please visit Goulburn Valley Community Legal Centre website.