On International Women’s Day, the National Association of Community Legal Centres (NACLC) is again asking the Australian Government to reverse funding cuts to Community Legal Centres that will take effect from July 1 this year.
CLCs are facing a 30 per cent federal funding cut which the NACLC says will have a negative impact on women who are experiencing family violence in Australia.
“Community legal centres (CLCs) play a vital role in providing legal help to people experiencing family violence. Family violence is one of the top areas of law in which CLCs provide support to hundreds of thousands of people every year,” said NACLC Chairperson Sara Kane.
“The 30 per cent federal funding cut facing CLCs in the coming months will have a dramatically negative impact on the ability of survivors to access quality legal services.”
“It is alarming to think of the family violence victims that will be turned away at CLCs who no longer have the capacity to help them. Some outreach programs will be forced to close. The Government should not underestimate the seriousness of the situation facing CLCs,” Ms Kane said.
The NACLC is calling on the Federal Government to reverse the national funding cuts to CLCs AND to immediately inject $120 million per year into the legal assistance sector, including: Family Violence Prevention Legal Services; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services’ and Legal Aid Commissions.
“Just last week we saw comments by the CEO of the Family Court of Australia acknowledging the impact of the cuts on the work of the Family Court. These cuts will be felt across the legal sector,” Ms Kane said.
“International Women’s Day is a pivotal time for all levels of government to demonstrate their commitment to ending family violence. This includes a commitment to reverse the funding cuts to CLCs and Family Violence Prevention Legal Services to allow them to continue the important work of providing essential legal services to victims of family violence.”
Community Legal Centres (CLCs) are independently operating not-for-profit community organisations that provide legal and related services to the public, focusing on the disadvantaged and people with special needs. For more information about CLCs visit the National Association of Community Legal Centres website: www.naclc.org.au