[Loddon Campaspe CLC] ensured my existence and provided a sense of hope for the future. The Lawyer helped me find the courage I thought I had lost. I truly believe it can change the lives of many others too – providing paths to greater justice, much-needed support and understanding. – Loddon Campaspe CLC client
Loddon Campaspe 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
Loddon Campaspe CLC operates across the Loddon Campaspe region, including Bendigo and parts of the Central Goldfields, Macedon Ranges and Mount Alexander shires.
Core Services and programs
2015-16 was defined by consolidation, collaboration, culmination and challenges. With a full staffing contingent, legal practice areas and relationships were consolidated and expanded and projects progressed.
Bendigo-based generalist services
Loddon Campaspe CLC Lawyers delivered telephone and face-to-face advice services (with the help of volunteers) and outreach to Echuca and upon request to Maryborough and Kyneton. Advice and casework services were delivered 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
Loddon Campaspe CLC provided advice, casework and Duty Lawyer services at Bendigo, Kyneton, Maryborough, Echuca and Castlemaine 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 a multitude of other services and are active members of family violence prevention networks. Following the completion of our family violence research and service project ‘Why Didn’t You Ask?’, the Victorian Department of Justice and Regulation funded us to continue providing frontline services, for which we are very grateful. The project staff gave a powerful presentation on ‘Why Didn’t You Ask?’ to the 2015 National Association of Community Legal Centres conference in Melbourne.
Loddon Campaspe CLC gave evidence to the Royal Commission into Family Violence and continued to work on implementing its recommendations. We have also worked to build and improve collaborations in this space, with a particular focus on financial abuse via our relationship with Bendigo Family & Financial Services.
Child Protection Legal Service
Our Child Protection pilot began in October 2015, extending the child protection services initiated through our Health-Justice Partnership with Bendigo Community Health Services (BCHS). This pilot was funded by Victoria Legal Aid. It has allowed us to increase our impact in this space.
Loddon Campaspe CLC delivered advice, casework, Duty Lawyer and emergency application assistance at Bendigo, Kyneton, Maryborough, Echuca, Swan Hill, Kerang and Castlemaine courts. From October 2015 the pilot provided parents and children with a Lawyer at a time of incredible vulnerability. We provided a quality holistic service that empowered clients, and ensured that their rights were protected and that they were supported in their child protection and other legal matters.
Health-Justice Partnerships recognise that legal problems are often connected to long-term illness and disability. Our Health-Justice Partnership with BCHS embeds a Loddon Campaspe CLC Lawyer within its Kangaroo Flat site. The result is direct referrals and secondary consultations by health service staff. Now in its third and final year, the program is focused on evaluating its impact. Loddon Campaspe CLC is also engaged in the creation of a Victorian and national Health Justice Network. In 2015 staff presented on our partnership at the National Association of Community Legal Centres conference in Melbourne.
Consumer Advocacy Assistance Program
Our partnership with Consumer Affairs Victoria has grown, with increased assistance and representation of vulnerable people with consumer complaints. We have focused on networking and built our relationships with various community services, which increased the number and quality of referrals. Common trends in 2015-16 included irresponsible lending, solar panels, motor vehicles and junk insurance.
La Trobe University (Bendigo) Student Legal Service
This service, funded by the Bendigo Student Association and delivered by Loddon Campaspe CLC Lawyers, has provided students with free legal advice and referrals, a Justice of the Peace service, community legal education and online content since 2012. Loddon Campaspe CLC provided ongoing services throughout the university year and the Student Legal Service is now a core component of the Bendigo Student Association’s services to the Bendigo student body.
For more information about this program, please visit Loddon Campaspe Community Legal Centre website.