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Law and Advocacy Centre for Women

Law and Advocacy Centre for Women

What do we do?

LACW provides advice and representation to women in greater Melbourne in the following areas:

  • Criminal defence advocacy;

  • Infringements and fines;

  • Victims of crime assistance;

  • Intervention orders.

Instead of dealing with the client's legal issues in isolation, LACW provides a client-centred, case-management approach that links clients in with the non-legal services they need to overcome the issues that have brought them before the criminal justice system. This reduces the risk of imprisonment and further entrenchment in the criminal justice system, benefiting the individual, her family and children, and the community by reducing re-offending and saving money that would otherwise be spent keeping women in prison.

Why is LACW needed?

  • Women are the fastest growing demographic in Victoria's prison system. The rate of female incarceration increased by more than double that of the male population between 2008 and 2013.

  • The number of female defendants facing Victoria's courts increased by 9% between 2012/13 and 2013/14, compared with a 5% increase for males.

  • Women are the highest represented demographic in poverty indicators.

  • LACW is the only legal service in Victoria that provides specialised advice and representation for women in criminal law.

  • Many women share common pathways to offending. A service for women that understands and addresses those issues is better placed to interrupt the narrative that sees these women enter and re-enter the criminal justice system.

How can you help?

LACW receives no on-going government funding. Without our assistance, a large number of our clients would go unrepresented, and become further entrenched in the justice system, compounding the disadvantages they already face due to factors such as poverty, low educational attainment, mental health issues and family violence. Your donation will assist us in providing early intervention and effective case-management to these women who would otherwise miss out on assistance.

Few women in custody are serious violent offenders, most have caring responsibilities, many are the victims of violent relationships and offend under the influence of drugs or to support drug use. Specific services within prisons are limited, so the solutions must lie in alternatives to incarceration and greater support.... (Victorian Ombudsman, 2015)

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Contact Details

147-155 Pelham Street


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Yes, as soon as your donation is processed.

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