Northern Community Legal Centre collaborates with community organisations to address the structural barriers that disadvantage and discriminate. The Centre participates in a broad range projects with many organisations to support and deliver projects and services to the community.
Northern Community Legal Centre received a grant in 2018 from the Victorian Legal Services Board to explore the adequacy of Australian laws when it comes to protecting and insuring access to services for Indian women affected by family violence in Australia, and the barriers and stereotypes that impede their journey to safety, security and recovery. The grant has allowed us to employ an Immigration Lawyer to provide free legal advice and assistance to Indian women who are victims/survivors of family violence. Our Immigration Lawyer provides casework and legal advice to assist clients in utilising the Immigration Family Violence Provisions if they are a holder of a Partner (subclass 309, 801 or 820) Visa or Prospective Marriage (subclass 300) Visa as well as their ability to seek asylum in Australia by lodging a Protection (subclass 866) Visa application.
Minimal research has been undertaken on the broad issues faced by Indian women who experience domestic and family violence in Australia. Northern Community Legal Centre operates in a region which has recently experienced a large arrival of Indian migrants. Through our work, we have become highly aware of the prevalence of the complexities Indian women face who are subjected to family violence. Our project aims to improve not only our local casework but to build understanding of the various issues Indian women deal with in the context of family violence. It is anticipated that this research will result in improved coordination of legal and non-legal responses at a local, state and national level.
Project information here.
Read the Media Release here.
Toward Equality 2020 and Beyond
Northern Community Legal Centre received funding through Communities for Children to support grassroots women’s groups to better identify and articulate the distinctive ways in which gender inequality and gendered violence manifests within each community. The collaborative work will develop leaders from within these target groups to act as champions for change and to ensure sustainability. The three groups are Oorja Foundation, Didi Bahini Samaj Victoria and El Amal.
Oorja focuses on issues of domestic violence, inter-generational conflict, child safety and social isolation in Indian community. Didi Bahini Samaj Victoria was formed in 2012 by a group of active Nepalese women who are committed to lobbying for a better world for women in Nepal and Australia. Their purpose is to advance, promote and empower women living in diverse cultural settings. Drawing on Northern Community Legal Centre’s existing staff resources and in collaboration with local refugee settlement services, we have established El Amal, a women’s group for newly arrived Syrian and Iraqi refugees.
Oorja, Didi Bahini Samaj Victoria and El Amal will work in collaboration to establish a network of multicultural leaders and work toward a joint forum to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, 2020. The forum will promote and share the learning from this work and the strategies developed to prevent gendered violence.
Embedding Legal Literacy in Education Institutions
Northern Community Legal Centre works alongside approximately 800 people of refugee and recently arrived backgrounds through community legal education and prevention enrolled in the Adult Migrant English Programs and English as Additional Language at Melbourne Polytechnic and Kangan Institute in Broadmeadows. We work with Kangan and Melbourne Polytechnic teaching staff to embed legal literacy within curriculum, to meet the needs of students by identifying and addressing issues raised at differing points in the settlement journey: for example, hosting “bring your insurance policy to school” or “bring your tenancy agreement” events where people are helped to understand the terms of their policy and agreement.
We have a lawyer and paralegal Arabic-speaking community worker who coordinate an on-site legal clinic where community members can access legal help.