We know that the law is not always fair, and that some individuals and groups in our community experience inequality and injustice within the legal system. We also know that people living in rural and regional areas face challenges accessing justice because of laws and policies that are made by people who live in cities.
In addition to making sure that people in regional and rural Victoria have access to legal help when they need it, we also advocate to change unfair laws and policies that disproportionately impact marginalized groups in our community.
We lend our voice to campaigns advocating for a fairer society. We also listen to and help to amplify the voices of our clients and groups in our community who are fighting for justice, human rights, equality and inclusion.
Learn more about some of the campaigns we are currently supporting
Access to safe and affordable housing is a basic human right, but many people in our community are struggling to keep a roof over their head. It’s clear that the housing system isn’t working for everyone. Rents have skyrocketed and in regional communities, affordable private rentals are in short supply. The demand for social housing is outstripping supply, and this is contributing to an increase in homelessness, particularly for women and children. We are joining the call for state and federal governments to fix our housing system and to invest in more affordable and social housing, particularly in rural and regional areas. Click on the link above to learn more and join the campaign.
Across Australia, children as young as 10 can be arrested by police, charged with an offence, and locked away in a prison. Many of these kids have experienced trauma, disadvantage and discrimination, things that no child should have to endure. Kids should be supported in their communities, not locked up in prison. We are joining the call for federal, state and territory governments to do the right thing and change the laws to raise the age of criminal responsibility so that children aged 10 to 13 cannot be sent to prison. Click on the link above to learn more and join the campaign.
Our social security system is broken. Before the COVID-19 crisis, the rate of Newstart had not been increased in real terms for 25 years, while the cost of living, especially housing, has gone through the roof. We know that people who experiencing financial hardship are also more likely to have legal problems and may struggle to access help. We are joining the call for a permanent increase to the JobSeeker Payment (formerly Newstart) to keep people out of poverty and to ensure that everyone can afford food, water, housing and health care which are basic human right and essential to individual and community wellbeing. Click on the link above to learn more and join the campaign.
Read some of our previous reports and submissions
Spent Convictions Scheme
In 2019 the Victorian Government held an inquiry into the introduction of a spent convictions scheme. At the time Victoria was the only state without a legislated scheme to limit criminal record enquiries for people with minor crimes in their past. Goulburn Valley Community Legal Centre’s submission to the inquiry highlighted how the lack of a spent convictions scheme in Victoria was unfairly affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members and their ability to find jobs. In February 2020, Premier Daniel Andrews announced that Victoria would introduce a legislated spent convictions scheme to ensure that old criminal records for minor offences would not impact on the ability of people to gain employment or to rehabilitate and move forward with their lives. Read our submission.
Knock it Off: Door-to-door sales and consumer harm in Victoria
This joint report by Consumer Action Law Centre, West Justice and Loddon Campaspe Community Legal Centre (published in 2017) shines a light on the harm caused to consumers, particularly people from vulnerable socio-economic groups, by unsolicited door-to-door sales and telemarketing. It calls for better regulation and protection of consumers from unsolicited sales. Read our report here.
Will Somebody Listen to Me
This report highlights the voices of women affected by family violence who have sought help through the legal system. Loddon Campaspe Community Legal Centre surveyed 190 women at Bendigo, Echuca, Maryborough, Kyneton and Swan Hill Magistrates’ Courts, and conducted in-depth conversations with 27 women, to listen to their experiences of the justice process and to hear their recommendations for systemic improvements. This report was published in 2015 and informed our submission to the Royal Commission into Family Violence in 2016. Read the full report here or summary version here.