Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer's Report

Shirley Southgate


Joanna Fletcher

Chief Executive Officer

Making a difference

Women’s Legal Service Victoria (WLSV) has been making a difference in women’s lives since 1982. Over that time we have grown from being a phone advice and referral service provided by a small group of dedicated volunteer lawyers to being a major social change organisation with nearly 40 staff, 60 volunteers and a wide range of programs.

In 2017/2018, we continued to:

  • Represent disadvantaged women across Victoria – providing legal advice, representation in court and running complex cases from start to finish
  • Support women with related issues through our in-house financial counsellor and social worker


  • Advocate for law and policy that respects and promotes the rights of women
  • Provide training and professional development so that women’s legal issues are identified early and responded to appropriately

We also started important new work to prevent violence against women.

All of our work is directed towards challenging the legal, social and economic structures that disadvantage women, with a focus on preventing and responding to legal issues arising from relationship breakdown or violence.

Clients' Stories

Hanna's story

With our help, a woman has her four children returned to her from her abusive ex-husband.

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Amy's story

A woman reunites with her daughter who has a disability through our legal assistance in the Children’s Court.

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Samantha's story

A young mother needs legal help after her newborn baby is removed from her care.

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Stephanie's story

A woman is misidentified as a perpetrator of family violence by the police.

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