Josef partners with LGBTIQ+ legal program for Pride Month

Running the only free legal service for the LGBTIQ+ community in town is no easy feat, particularly when you’re a team of three.

It’s why we’ve partnered with the St Kilda Legal Service, a community legal centre in Victoria, Australia, which has operated an LGBTIQ+ legal program for the past three years. 

Initially set up as a Health Justice Partnership with Thorne Harbour Health, the lawyers provide free help to the LGBTIQ+ community with legal problems such as discrimination, family violence, and issues related to LGBTIQ+ status.

For Pride Month, we’ve donated access to Josef, services and financial support to help them in their important work. 

Through the partnership, SKLS will be using Josef to streamline their intake and referral process, reducing repetitive work and ultimately helping more people. 

We chatted with the CEO of St Kilda Legal Service, Mel Dye, about the work SKLS does, and how you can help fund another lawyer to join the LGBTIQ+ legal program.

Why is the LGBTIQ+ legal program an important service?

LGBTIQ+ people in Victoria face significant lack of access to legal services and can be reluctant to engage with the mainstream legal system due to fear of discrimination and lack of confidence that their complaint will be successful.

Access to a safe and inclusive practice is therefore really important for the LGBTIQ+ community.

For the past two years, we’ve worked closely with the trans and gender diverse community, particularly in relation to discrimination at work and access to services. We also assist several trans clients in prisons, which is important and complex work.

One of the most significant legal issues for LGBTIQ+ people identified in research and consultations we’ve conducted is family violence.

LGBTIQ+ people are more likely to experience family violence but are less likely to receive appropriate support due to a distrust of mainstream services, notably the police, and fear of discrimination. 

Mel Dye, CEO of St Kilda Legal Service

Mel Dye, CEO of St Kilda Legal Service

We’re also focused on increasing the capacity and knowledge of other organisations to address the legal needs of the LGBTIQ+ community.

Over the next 23 months, we will focus on community legal centres and family violence services, and aim to include organisations in regional Victoria.

In the past 12 months, we’ve helped over 130 clients, provided 250 legal advices, and made 235 referrals.

How will you use Josef to make services to the LGBTIQ+ community more accessible?

We’re working on developing a referral bot. A lot of people acknowledge that we can’t help everyone, but they still come to us for information about where to go for help. 

And it’s important for clients to know we’ve okayed another service. They’ll know the service we refer them to will not discriminate against them – they’ll find acceptance, no judgement, and safety. 

We have an intake coordinator doing this three days a week, and the demand on their time is high, so it would be useful to have an easy and interactive referral database.

We also want to extend this referral bot to others in the sector, so we all benefit from this technology and promote consistency in making referrals. 

Partnering with Josef is incredible because we definitely don’t have the tech skills to do it on our own. Not only does Josef have a really unique niche in legaltech, but they get us. 

Historically, Josef has always had community legal centres at the core of what they do. This hasn’t been lost.

How can people support St Kilda Legal Service’s LGBTIQ+ legal program?

We’re wanting to secure funding to employ a family violence lawyer, and donations to help make that happen can be made here.  

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