The Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service (VALS) was established as a community-controlled organisation in 1973 to address the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the criminal justice system. The organisation has a long and proud history of providing legal and service support for Aboriginal Victorians who are experiencing or at risk of experiencing negative contact with the justice system and advocating locally, nationally and internationally for the rights of Aboriginal people.
We strive to:
- Promote social justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
- Promote the right of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to empowerment, identity and culture
- Ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples enjoy their rights, are aware of their responsibilities under the law and have access to appropriate advice, assistance and representation
- Reduce the disproportionate involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the criminal justice system
- Promote the review of legislation and other practices which discriminate against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
The organisation has grown over the years (with further expansion options being pursued) and now offers criminal, family and civil law services, client services support, community legal education and a range of community justice support programs in both Victoria and Tasmania.
The Tasmanian operation was established in 2015, the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community Legal Service (TACLS), a semi-autonomous operation for Tasmania.
About the role:
Lawyers within the Children, Youth and Family Law Division are to provide high quality legal services, including duty lawyer services, representation, advice and information in child protection, youth crime, family violence and family law matters to members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in Victoria.
Key Performance Indicators, Duties & Responsibilities
- Appear as an advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients in child protection, youth crime, intervention orders and to a lesser extent family law matters within the Children’s Court of Victoria and Federal Circuit Court of Australia.
- Provide quality legal services, including legal information, advice and casework, for clients in child protection, youth crime, intervention order matters as well as family law matters and other relates matters as appropriate
- Participate in community legal education, law reform and other VALS projects.
- Keep up to date with relevant legal developments and procedures by attending professional legal education sessions and maintain an understanding of issues impacting Aboriginal communities and the justice system.
- Contribute to the collaborative relationship between Victoria Legal Aid and other community organizations with whom VALS interacts.
- You will be required to travel across Victoria to deliver services to the ATSI community. Sometimes this travel will occur outside of usual business hours
Noting this position is based in Mildura, VIC.
We are looking for someone with:
- Admitted or eligible for admission as a legal practitioner in Victoria.
- Demonstrated ability to act as an advocate, deliver legal advice and casework and undertake negotiation and dispute resolution on behalf of clients.
- Knowledge or practical experience in relevant law and procedure with a focus on the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005, child protection, criminal law, family violence, bail, sentencing, evidence law and procedure.
- High level interpersonal and communication skills and the ability to communicate clearly and appropriately with clients, staff and external stakeholders and organisations.
- Demonstrated aptitude for quick and accurate decision making and the ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines.
- Demonstrated flexible and adaptable approach to work and collaboratively work with others to foster a cooperative team environment.
- A knowledge of the general business of VALS and a commitment to our Vision and Values.
- A commitment to and understanding of the legal issues faced by members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community in Victoria.
- Basic competency in the use of MS Office Software (particularly MS Word, Excel, E-mail) to a legal practice and the capacity to quickly acquire competency in the use of VALS’ client data base.
To understand the full duties and responsibilities of the position, please read through the detailed position description located below.