Lawyering for change
In 2015, Agata Wierzbowski undertook the Victoria Law Foundation’s Community Law Centre Fellowship. Through the fellowship, she researched how community legal centres can maximise the impact of their legal casework in advocacy. As part of this, over six months she met with over 100 community lawyers and change makers across Australia, and internationally in South Africa, Canada, the USA and the UK. The project findings are set out in the Lawyering for Change report, available online at: keepingthemhonestblog.com
“The Fellowship provided me with the lucky privilege of learning how other organisations strive to achieve social change, and improve access to justice. I wouldn’t have had this opportunity had I remained in the office”, Agata said. “I’m glad to hear that many of my community lawyer colleagues have found the Lawyering for Change report and its principles useful, and that it is part of an ongoing conversation in the sector about how we can better help our clients”.
Sister’s Day Out
Financial counsellors Elyse Hoskins and Dianne Dejanovic have attended several Sisters’ Day Out workshops in 2015/16, organised by the Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service.
The workshops provide pampering and well-being activities for Aboriginal women alongside information on family violence and opportunities to talk to vital community services. Agencies attending Sisters Day Out workshops play an essential role in breaking down the barriers to access faced by Aboriginal women, thereby reducing vulnerability to family violence. Elyse found the days really valuable telling us that “you could see the barriers being broken down between the women and the services attending”
Given the majority of our financial counselling work is on the phone, events like this give our team the opportunity to get out into the community and assist those people less likely to give us a call. Dianne (pictured with a film crew on one of the days) said “it’s a great opportunity to build rapport with the Aboriginal community and also with other agencies who service that community”
The language of consumer advocacy
How do we make the language of consumer advocacy more powerful? Our Media and Communications Officer Jonathan Brown undertook a 2 month Messaging and Communication Fellowship with the Centre for Australian Progress. Fellows from all around Australia and New Zealand learned about the latest research in social change messaging from internationally renowned language exoert Anat Shenker-Osorio.
“It was amazing to learn from Anat” said Jonathan. “I now know what consumer advocates need to do to make our stories have more impact. Anat’s research and guidance has already helped me to improve our storytelling and advocacy at Consumer Action and I can’t wait to share everything I’ve learned more broadly across our sector.”