ACCESS TO JUSTICE: A HUMAN RIGHT FOR EVERYONE
A traumatised woman is ruthlessly cross-examined in a family court by the man who abused her and their children. She can’t afford a lawyer and her ex-partner doesn’t have one, so she must endure the frightening experience alone.
A child not yet 10 is the victim of his own broken family. It’s not his fault that his parents can’t provide a safe home for him. But still, he is left without a voice – even when a magistrate says legal representation is in his best interests.
An 18-year-old engages in consensual “sexting” with a 15-year-old girl. This is legally considered child pornography. He is unlikely to go to jail so he is denied a lawyer – even though he can be placed on the sex offenders register and his future is in jeopardy.
WHY IS THIS HAPPENING IN VICTORIA RIGHT NOW?
For too many years, federal and state governments have been under-funding legal aid. And now the poorest people are paying the price.
Disadvantaged people who were previously eligible for legal aid are now being deprived of legal representation, following changes to Victoria Legal Aid's guidelines around who can get help.
This raises the risk of miscarriages of justice, and puts people’s futures at stake.
Just as we expect our governments to provide good healthcare and education, legal representation is a fundamental human right that should be available to everyone – not just those who can afford it.
Don’t let governments turn their backs on the poorest people.
You can help by joining us in urging federal and state governments - and federal and state oppositions - to give legal aid the attention and funding it needs. Join us, and make access to justice an election issue.
Sign the petition.