Women’s Legal Service Victoria assists women experiencing disadvantage who are facing legal issues arising out of relationship breakdown and violence. This means that we assist women with issues such as:
- Protection from family violence and personal safety (intervention orders)
- Children living with and spending time with their parents (this used to be called “custody and access” or “residence and contact”)
- Division of property after separation
- Separation and divorce
- Victims of crime applications
We are also able to offer access to financial counselling to women experiencing problems with debt, financial hardship or accessing financial entitlements following relationship breakdown.
We offer the following assistance to women in Victoria:
- free legal advice by phone on our Legal Advice Line
- free advice and representation to women at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court through our Legal Advice and Representation Clinic
- legal representation, in certain defined circumstances (see below)
Women’s Legal Service Victoria does not give second opinions. If you are concerned about the legal advice you are currently receiving you should discuss your concerns with your lawyer or contact the Legal Services Commissioner.
Changes to our services
We are always looking for ways to increase our impact and reach the women who need us most. For this reason, we have recently made some changes to the services we offer. You can read more about these changes and the reasons for them here.
We provide ongoing representation to:
- Women facing significant barriers to accessing justice and
- Where our assistance will have greatest impact.
That impact may be for the individual or of a systemic nature, meaning that it will lead to improvements to the legal system.
The barriers may result from, for example:
- Health or disability
- Culture, language, literacy
- Long term exclusion from the workforce
We identify cases which are appropriate for ongoing representation using casework guidelines that can be viewed here.
If you are receiving a government benefit or pension you should contact Victoria Legal Aid prior to contacting our service to find out if they can assist you.
If you are seeking referrals to a private family lawyer or other legal services you should call the Law Institute of Victoria.
We operate a free and confidential Legal Advice Line for women in Victoria who need legal advice, information or referral. We offer women the opportunity to speak confidentially with a female lawyer about legal issues arising from relationship breakdown and violence against women.
Interpreter services are available.
Phone 03 8622 0600 (for metropolitan callers) or 1800 133 302 (for country callers)
Hours of operation
Tuesday 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Thursday 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
If you need URGENT legal advice outside these hours please call Victoria Legal Aid.
- Write your questions down
- Write down important events
- If you have documents, have them handy so that you can refer to them
We operate a free and confidential legal service at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court. Our lawyers provide legal advice, representation and referrals for women who have intervention order matters in court that day.
We can assist women by:
- explaining the legal process
- negotiating with the other person or their lawyer
- providing court representation
- seeking adjournments
Click here for family violence duty lawyer services provided by Community Legal Centres, at other Victorian Magistrates' Courts.
Hours of operation
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday
9:30 am to 1:00 pm
Level 6, Melbourne Magistrates’ Court
233 William Street (corner of Lonsdale St)
MELBOURNE VIC 3000
The Women’s Legal Service office is located on the 6th floor. Please tell the court staff at the information counter when you arrive that you would like to see the Women’s Legal Service duty lawyer.
- Before coming to court telephone our Legal Advice Line to see how we may be able to assist with your intervention order matter.
- Arrive at court early, to ensure you receive assistance with your matter.
- If you are having trouble finding us at court, speak to a person from Court Network or to court staff at the information counter.
- If you need assistance at court when we are not there, ask to see the Duty Lawyer from Victoria Legal Aid.
Royal Commission into Family Violence
12 April 2016
The Royal Commission into Family Violence handed over their 1900-page report to the Victorian Governor last week. The report highlighted a number of key systemic issues facing women experiencing family violence in Victoria. A significant number of recommendations made by the report reflect the submissions made by WSLV including financial abuse protections, restorative justice measures and increased safety in the courts system.
You can read some of the press coverage that featured WLSV below:
How to restore women's trust in justice
10 January 2016
Our CEO, Joanna Fletcher's piece in The Age today - click here to read.
Annual Impact Report 2014/2015
18 December 2015
We are pleased to bring you our first ever digital Annual Impact Report!
Click here to read the report.