Royal CommissionBCLS advocated for changes to the court system for family violence matters in regional Victoria and for more to be done towards prevention as part of our submission to the Royal Commission into Family Violence.

In 2014 BCLS acted in over 500 family violence cases and has already provided assistance in over 200 family violence matters so far this year. One in three of our clients seek our assistance in family violence related matters.

Download our submission to the Royal Commission here.


Community Legal Services peak body recommendations to Royal Commission

‘This royal commission is a vital opportunity to strengthen Victoria’s response to family violence to better protect women and children, including through better access to free legal help and improving the specialist capacity of our courts,’ said Dr Chris Atmore, Senior Policy Adviser with the Federation of Community Legal Centres.

More than 60 recommendations to the Royal Commission into Family Violence have been made by the Federation of Community Legal Centres, the peak body for Victoria’s 50 community legal centres.

Download the Federation’s submission to the Royal Commission here.


The Royal Commission in Geelong

The Royal Commission was in Geelong recently as part of the 30 community consultations being held across Victoria. Commissioner Marcia Neave noted that the Royal Commission is aware of the inadequacy of resources and we used this opportunity to stress the need for specialist family violence Courts at Geelong and Colac and for prevention programs throughout schools. Many workers present at the consultation reflected that it is often not acknowledged that family violence is not only physical violence but also emotional abuse and controlling and dominating behavior. BCLS is advocating for more to be done in the prevention space, particularly respectful relationship programs to be run consistently in our schools.


What are our neighbours doing?

Our lawyers, Lee and Mikala, went on a road trip recently to see the Specialist Family Violence Court division at Ballarat in action. They were thoroughly impressed with the way the specialist court was designed and operated and came away with many thoughts and ideas of how court services for family violence in the Geelong and Colac area can be improved upon. We thank the Central Highlands Community Legal Centre team for giving their time and sharing their expertise on the day.

This year 34 women have died as a result of family violence in Australia, equating to two women a week. Last year, one woman was killed every week. Significantly more needs to be done to address the huge issue of family violence in Australia.


Support for those affected by family violence

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit In an emergency, call 000.

For more information about a service in your state or local area, download the DAISY App in the App Store or Google Play – 1800Respect has developed a family violence app to connect women to a wide range of services that provide family violence support and assistance.

For more information or to download the app, go to:

BCLS provides free legal advice and representation at court in relation to family violence matters.

Please call 1300 430 599 to make an appointment.