Vietnamese Lawyer Project

Project Rationale

The  Vietnamese community within the Brimbank local government area represents about 10% of the population. This community is isolated by language and cultural barriers which prevent many from accessing legal services. Research shows that a bilingual approach to service delivery is significantly more effective in providing legal information and advice to culturally and linguistically diverse clients. 

Project Description and Deliverables

The Vietnamese Lawyer Project aims to improve access to justice by delivering legal advice and information in the Vietnamese language through a bilingual lawyer.

Brimbank Melton Community Legal Centre delivers the Vietnamese Lawyer Project in partnership with the Australian Vietnamese Women’s Association (AVWA). This is a two-year project funded by the Victorian Department of Justice and Regulation.

The project provides free legal assistance in the Vietnamese language for the following types of legal issues: 

  1. Family law (focusing on parenting orders);
  2. Family violence;
  3. Infringements;
  4. Minor criminal offences; and
  5. Motor vehicle accidents. 

The project also:

  • delivers legal information to Vietnamese groups through presentations and seminars;
  • runs professional development sessions for workers of the AVWA in order to build their legal information and referral capacity;
  • aims to increase legal information resources available to the Vietnamese community through Vietnamese-language publications such as factsheets.

Project Status

The project saw its first client on 3 March 2016. Since then, there has been a steady number of clients accessing the service. Project data so far indicates that family law and family violence assistance are prominent legal needs within the Vietnamese community in Melbourne’s western suburbs.

Partnerships

The Australian Vietnamese Women’s Association (AVWA) provides social, cultural, educational and vocational support to the Vietnamese community in Victoria. The organisation has operated for over thirty-three years and has developed strong community ties and trust within the Vietnamese community.

The AVWA is the ideal partner organisation for this project.

The AVWA supplies the service infrastructure by providing consultation rooms and office facilities; appointment booking services; and a staff member to conduct client feedback surveys.