3 September 2021

The VALS Board is delighted that we can accept new clients in the week of 6 September, further to a decision to lift a new client intake freeze in place since 20 May 2021.

The freeze was regrettably needed to relieve VALS staff of unsafe workloads caused in part from a surging incarcerated population and the COVID pandemic. We ensured that we made warm referrals of prospective clients to other legal assistance providers including Djirra and Victorian Legal Aid. We are grateful to those partners.

This is hugely important for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria. Having access to high quality, holistic, culturally safe legal services is vital to helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people navigate Victoria’s justice system.

VALS management and staff have worked tirelessly and with partners including the Department of Justice and Community Safety to implement effective demand management strategies, including recruiting new staff. We look forward to continuing our strong working relationships with government and partners in Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations and legal assistance providers to ensure that Aboriginal legal services.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria can contact VALS by calling 1800 064 865 or fill out the form on our website vals.org.au/contacts.

Quotes Attributable to George Selvanera, Acting CEO, Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service

“VALS thanks all of our partners for their support. We would not have been able to get to this stage without their guidance and support.”

“I encourage any Aboriginal person in need of legal advice or support to call VALS as soon as they can.”