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FAQs

Frequently asked questions

VALS offers support across a number of issues, with dedicated Family Law, Civil and Criminal practice areas Its best to contact our practice areas directly to determine whether they are able to assist.

VALS provides its services gratis, free of any charge, and is funded by State, Federal and private funding entities to meet its financial obligations VALS will not seek to bill or otherwise charge you for its services

VALS is always looking for talented people, that are committed to promoting social justice and improving the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Click here to learn about current opportunities, or click here to register your expression of interest for future employment

Great, we would love to connect with you and identify whether there are any viable opportunities for volunteerism. Click here to learn more about volunteering and to register your expression of interest.

VALS main social media activity is on Facebook, Instagram,Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Please follow, like or subscribe to  any of the above platforms mentioned

Please contact our corporate services team and ask to speak with accounts payable.

VALS supports all of Victoria with offices in Preston, Mildura, Shepparton, Swan Hill,  but even if there is not an office near you we are still able to assist, contact our toll free number 1800 064 865 to learn about how we are able to assist you

We are always happy to discuss partner opportunities, perhaps start by reviewing our partnerships page, click here to visit the page.

You will find partnership examples and partnership contacts

VALS is happy to discuss volunteerism for credit bearing subjects, noting that the candidate will need to broker any subject specific requirements with the relevant provider and VALS prior to commencement.

VALS is open to discussions regarding paid and unpaid work integrated learning, noting that an arrangement is required between the relevant TAFE/University,

VALS and the candidate should the candidate want to undertake a paid WIL activity, any inquiries regarding WIL should be directed to us via email. 

VALS does not disclose any identified data. VALS does not generally disclose any de-identified data unless an arrangement is in place with the data recipient VALS may request that the data recipient have the necessary research ethics approvals in place at the time of the application for data

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    To determine eligibility VALS will:

    • enquire as to the Aboriginality of the client;
    • enquire as to perceived or actual conflict of interest;
    • enquire as to compliance with the Means Test;
    • consider the merit of the client’s matter.

    Aboriginality
    The first time someone uses VALS they must provide proof of their Aboriginality using the Confirmation of Aboriginality Form. This form must be signed and sealed by the Officer Bearers of a recognised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation.

    Conflict
    VALS must not decline to provide assistance to an eligible person, group or body on the grounds that the other party to the matter is an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person. In circumstances where the relationship between the parties to a case would result in a conflict of interest, that conflict must be managed in accordance with the Victorian Legal Practice requirements and Policy Direction 9 – “Managing Conflicts of Interest” – of the Attorney-General’s Department Policy Directions for the Delivery of Legal Aid Services to Indigenous Australians (2008).

    VALS will not act if a conflict of interest exists. A conflict of interest may be an ‘actual’ conflict of interest or a ‘perceived’ conflict of interest. A conflict of interest can involve:

    • Clients who have different interests, such as VALS may have advised or acted for person “A” (old client) who has an interest that conflicts with person “B” (intended new client).
    • Clients and VALS, such as a VALS staff member or Board Member has an interest that conflicts with an intended new client. Conflicts involving client-provider relationships are:
      •  An owner, director, manager, employee, contractor or agent of VALS and/or;
      • An employee of the Department; and/or
      • A close relative (spouse, de facto, parent, sibling or child) of any of the above.

    VALS provides assistance on a first in best dressed basis (i.e. provide direct assistance to the party who approaches VALS first). VALS will refer the other party to another legal service provider or “brief out” the client to a private lawyer (subject to the client meeting the requirements for brief outs). Where appropriate, VALS may act for one client and provide assistance by brief out to the other.

    Means Test
    Where a person seeks casework assistance, VALS must ensure that applicants satisfy the Means Testing provisions of the Policy Directions.

    VALS must ensure that all applicants for legal casework assistance satisfy one or more of the following requirements:

    • Under 18 years of age;
    • Main source of income comes from Community Development Employment Projects; (CDEP) participant wages or Centrelink (or equivalent) benefits; or
    • Gross household income is under $52,000 per annum.

    Note: Household income includes the income of your partner, spouse, relative including an adult child who you live with.

    The Means Test will be administered in two parts:

    Part A: Requires the completion of a small number of questions relating to the applicant’s personal circumstances and income level.

    Part B: Is required where applicants do not satisfy the criteria in Part A. It requires more detail about the applicant’s income, assets, employment status and number of dependents.

    Merit Test
    Discretion will be used to determine if a particular case has merit.