Changes to ACT legal support services due to novel coronavirus (COVID-19)


Released 27/03/2020

Legal support services in the ACT have moved to audio-visual communications in response COVID 19.

These measures will allow organisations to provide legal advice whilst ensuring the safety of the community and their staff.

Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay said that the safe provision of adequate legal advice was a priority for the Government at this time.

“As we manage this unprecedented event, the ACT Government is working with ACT’s legal support services to ensure we are still able to provide services while also minimising the health risk to all Canberrans,” Mr Ramsay said.

“Anyone required to self-isolate or who is feeling unwell should not attend any of the ACT legal support services. This includes those on bail or subject to summonses, subpoenas or other compulsory processes. Individuals in these circumstances must contact the applicable service in advance. They will then receive advice about how their matters will proceed.”

A summary of legal services is available below:

Legal Aid ACT helps people in the ACT with their legal problems, especially people who are socially or economically disadvantaged. Specifically, Legal Aid ACT has a helpline for general legal information and advice that is open to all members of the community, runs the Tenancy Advice Service and the Older Persons ACT Legal Service in the ACT and family violence matters, as well as many other services.

The ACT Human Rights Commission promotes the human rights and welfare of all Canberrans. It handles a range of complaints about health services; complaints about discrimination, children’s services, services for older people and disability services. As part of the Commission, Victim Support ACT provides free counselling, case coordination and financial assistance to victims. Additionally, the Public Advocate and Children and Young People Commissioner advocates for people at risk of abuse and exploitation, and ensures that systems are upholding peoples’ rights and interests.

The Public Trustee and Guardian provides permanent and secure Trustee, Guardianship, Financial Management, and Will and Enduring Powers of Attorney making services to the ACT community.

The Restorative Justice Unit facilitates restorative justice processes for people impacted by offences including those who are harmed, those responsible for causing harm as well as their respective communities of care.

Canberra Community Law provides legal services to people on low incomes in the areas of housing, Centrelink, disability and discrimination law as well as a specialist service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Domestic Violence Crisis Service (DVCS) is a specialist domestic and family violence service that seeks to reduce violence and abuse in relationships. DVCS provides crisis and long-term support services to help break the domestic and family violence cycle.

The Women’s Legal Centre provides specialist advice in relation to family law, care and protection, employment and discrimination issues. The Centre’s Aboriginal Women’s Program provides culturally safe support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

Care Inc and the Consumer Law Centre provide support and advice to people in financial stress. They are continuing to provide financial counselling, legal advice and no interest loan services.

The Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT undertakes legal work in criminal law, children’s care and protection law and family law.

Environmental Defenders Office ACT provides free initial legal advice on planning and environmental law matters.

- Statement ends -

Section: Gordon Ramsay, MLA | Media Releases


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