WEstjustice launched the School Lawyer project in partnership with The Grange P-12 College in 2015.
By embedding a lawyer within a public school community, this innovative two-year pilot program creates an inclusive relationship with students, parents, guardians and teachers that goes beyond the traditional lawyer/client relationship. It also helps to build the confidence of the wider school community to effectively engage with the justice system to improve the stability of school families and the attendance and performance of students. The School Lawyer is a member of the school’s Wellbeing Team.
Our School Lawyer has so far assisted students and parents with a broad range of legal issues including consumer law problems, criminal law matters, family law and family violence matters, homelessness, fines and employment law problems.
The School Lawyer is also delivering community legal education to staff, students and their families on a range of topics including sexting, bullying and cyber bullying, online safety, employment law and criminal law.
Based on the success of The Grange pilot, the ‘Expanded School Lawyer Project’ aims to explore a similar model that could be delivered across a cluster of schools at the one time, including alternative education settings and additional needs schools. The project will also develop and trial a ‘transient youth clinic’ that will complement the existing School Lawyer model in order to re-engage and support students who have disengaged from and/or left the school. The project partners include Warringa Park School, Wyndham Community and Education Centre and Laverton P-12 College.
School Lawyer Reference Group
Schooling has always been about preparing children for their future, so it is of no surprise that a new wave of energetic and ‘down-to-earth’ school lawyers continue to surface in high schools across Victoria.
After the success of the 1st Australian ‘in-house’ school lawyer in 2015, lawyer in school programs continue to develop in Victoria, especially within the outer urban and regional areas. Community legal service providers and the Geelong Victoria Legal Aid office have chosen to place lawyers in primary and secondary schools to break down barriers and build trust with a cohort of young people traditionally overlooked by legal services. Read more about the expansion of school lawyer programs here.
In 2016 the sector saw the creation of the School Lawyer Reference Group. The role of the School Lawyer Reference Group is to strengthen and develop the School Lawyer model thinking and practice in the non-profit, government and private sectors. See Terms of Reference for more information.
For more information about the School Lawyer programs and School Lawyer Reference Group including membership, please contact Melissa Hardham at firstname.lastname@example.org or (03) 9216 0023.
School Lawyer Program – Social Ventures Australia Consulting
Social Ventures Australia (SVA) Consulting were engaged to document the current School Lawyer Program model and develop a framework to assist other organisations who may want to establish a program for their own school community.
SVA will develop a Business Case, outlining the goals, initiatives, activities and funding required to achieve scale across Victoria. The Framework developed in Phase 1 is a key tool in this phase. Access the School Lawyer Program Framework here.
SVA is a social purpose organisation that works with partners to improve the lives of people in need.
For more information about the Consultancy, please contact Melissa Hardham at email@example.com or (03) 9216 0023.
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