VALS supports clients when they interact with the Victorian justice system. When a police notification (VPer) is received involving an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person in Victoria, VALS is then notified and will extend support to the individual. This support may initially take the form of a visit by a Client Service Officer. Long term support will be provided by the relevant legal teams in Civil, Criminal or Family law.
VALS works with clients to support them during what is often a highly emotional time. We provide culturally safe and holistic support to ensure that their needs are met beyond legal service provision alone. We often work with other Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations to ensure that the client is safe, supported and cared for. VALS staff are trained in social work, community services and other relevant disciplines. VPer notifications are consented referrals during for non-crisis incidents.
Our model, advocacy and representation
The VALS service provides advocacy and support to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that have been referred to us by Victoria Police. Clients are referred and supported by their nearest Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation. VALS endeavours to provide the client with access to culturally appropriate housing, drug and alcohol treatment, community services and other relevant supports throughout Victoria. Clients receive information and support relating to material aid, financial aid, legal services, counselling services, physical/mental/sexual health, education/employment and training.
We advocate on behalf of clients for services such as Centrelink, Department of Justice and Community Safety, Family Support Services, Office of Housing, Department of Health and Human Services, drug and alcohol treatments services, health and mental health practitioners and other relevant services and supports. We assess the needs of our clients that encompass legal, educational, employment, housing, income, mental and physical health. This work extends to client’s children, carers and spouses. Our aim is to provide a holistic service that encompasses the family unit.
We continue to network and advocate for our clients’ needs. Our service includes identification of gaps, funding opportunities and resources to better support our clients.