We work to influence the development of law and policy by:
As part of this work, we work closely with peak bodies, community legal centres and domestic violence organisations to create the greatest impact.
WLSV is also a member of Women’s Legal Services Australia, the national network of women’s legal services.
Our work is guided by our three key policy priorities:
Read our Policy Platform to learn more about our policy positions and recommendations for change.
In 2022 Women’s Legal Service Victoria and Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre published research exploring the lived experience of mothers seeking reunification with their children within the Victorian child protection system. All of the mothers that participated in this study were victim/survivors of family violence.
Our Research Report, Stronger Together, offers new insights into the barriers to reunification and supports needed to enable children to be safely restored to the care of their family. Aligning with the Victorian Government’s commitment to transformational change, the Report provides 18 recommendations to support the child protection system in shifting towards a collaborative, strengths-based and gender-informed approach that promotes the wellbeing and safety of children.
You can read the final report here.
In August 2020, we developed a policy brief on the issue of justice system response to coercive control.
The brief is informed by our extensive family violence legal practice experience and in-depth understanding of Victoria’s legislative and policy landscape. It is also informed by a review of key literature and research, including the findings of Victoria’s Royal Commission into Family Violence.
You can read the policy brief here.
You can read the WLSA submission on the draft National Principles to address Coercive Control, which we contributed and helped author, here.
In 2015, Australia’s first ever Royal Commission into Family Violence commenced in Victoria.
WLSV has contributed its expertise and shared the experience of our clients in order to inform and influence the findings of the Royal Commission.
Read our submissions
Our evidence in public hearings
Our Stepping Stones Project Coordinator, Emma Smallwood, spoke to the Commission about the barriers to economic empowerment after family violence.
Our Principal Solicitor, Helen Matthews, shared her expertise of the family law system with the Commission and the challenges in having family violence recognised and responded to.
In 2014 the Productivity Commission reported on its review into access to justice arrangements in the federal court. The Productivity Commission made the following key recommendations:
Read our submission to the Productivity Commission here.
Our former Policy Manager, Pasanna Mutha-Merennege and CEO, Joanna Fletcher, were invited to speak to the Productivity Commission during their public hearings.
In 2014, WLSV was part of the No More Deaths Alliance that sought election commitments from all major political parties prior to the last state election to improve the family violence system.
Family violence became a key issue of the 2014 state election and resulted in significant policy commitments from all major political parties in line with our 25 Key Campaign Asks.
Read more about our recommendations change: