12 June 2024

Fitzroy Legal Service is seeing a growing number of victim-survivors seeking our assistance and is calling on supporters to donate this June to enable us to provide urgent legal advice to people like Gemma* who would otherwise go without.  

Gemma’s and Hugh’s* relationship was intense. Throughout their six-month relationship, Gemma felt increasingly suffocated. 

When she was not with him, he needed to know where she was, and what she was doing. Gemma knew something was not right.  

When Gemma requested space, Hugh became very anxious and did not stop calling her. Even when she blocked his number and changed her email, he somehow got her new email address.  

Hugh’s ex-partner advised Gemma that he had been emotionally and physically abusive in the past, and Gemma felt trapped and terrified. 

She went to the police to apply for an Intervention Order and was given the date for a court hearing with no idea of what to expect. That is when Fitzroy Legal Service’s free after-hours Night Service stepped in. 

We were able to guide Gemma on the family violence system and help her prepare for her court hearing so she could get the protection that she needed. 

“[The volunteer lawyer] wrote all the advice down so that I wouldn’t forget anything, which is of particular importance as it’s obviously a situation that might be triggering,” Gemma says. 

“The best outcome was achieved because of how organised the volunteer Night Service lawyer helped me to be.” 

Gemma*, Fitzroy Legal Service Night Service Client

In Victoria, every victim-survivor should have access to the legal support that they need to stay safe and free from violence. But according to FLS Service Director and Principal Lawyer – Night Service, Rebecca Johnston-Ryan, for too many women, that is not the case. 

“Gemma’s case is not unique,” Rebecca says. “Tragically, we are seeing more and more victim-survivors seeking assistance from the Night Service.” 

“With rates of gendered violence increasing, and services stretched to breaking point, our assistance is now more vital than ever.” 

Rebecca Johnston-Ryan, Fitzroy Legal Service Service Director and Principal Lawyer – Night Service

To help enable our Night Service to provide urgent legal advice to people like Gemma, Fitzroy Legal Service is running its Annual Night Service Appeal over ten days from Tuesday 4 June to Thursday 13 June.  

The purpose of the Appeal is to raise vital funds to cover fast-rising costs, such as IT, client data management, interpreter services, and insurance.  

FLS CEO Hamish McLachlan says these cost increases are far outstripping any increases in government funding. “Our sector is facing a ‘national funding crisis’, which results in over one thousand Australians being turned away from desperately needed legal support every day,” Hamish reports.  

“Initiated by pioneering legal disrupters in 1972, our Night Service operates as a vital safety net, five nights a week for thousands of people every year” 

Hamish McLachlan, Fitzroy Legal Service CEO

“For each of our clients, this after-hours legal service is the difference between being fairly treated and protected by the law, and not. But we cannot do it alone.”  

With $76, you can help us to provide urgent legal advice to a victim-survivor needing legal protection against family violence. Find out more and donate today 

*Names changed for privacy.  

Other news

FLS appoints new CEO Hamish McLachlan
May 30, 2024
Fitzroy Legal Service’s Board appoints new CEO, Hamish McLachlan
Read article ›
Job Expo for Lived and Living Experience
May 23, 2024
Groundbreaking jobs expo to challenge barriers for women locked out of employment 
Read article ›
IDAHOBIT DAY
May 17, 2024
Fitzroy Legal Service and Q+Law celebrate IDAHOBIT Day
Read article ›
Australia must do more to secure a ceasefire in Palestine
May 14, 2024
Australia must do more to secure a ceasefire in Palestine
Read article ›
FLS's free Divorce Clinic
April 30, 2024
Family Law and Family Violence team reignite FLS’s Divorce Clinic
Read article ›
A msg from the CEO, Hamish McLachlan
April 30, 2024
Message from the CEO – April 2024  
Read newsletter ›
Amity Mara, Manager, Policy, Advocacy and Projects
April 29, 2024
Five minutes with Amity Mara
Read post ›
April 15, 2024
Migration Bill denies safe pathways for people seeking asylum in Australia
Read post ›
March 28, 2024
Message from the CEO – March 2024  
Read newsletter ›
Rebecca Johnston-Ryan, Service Director and Principal Lawyer, Night Service
March 27, 2024
Five minutes with FLS Night Service Director and Principal Lawyer, Rebecca Johnston-Ryan
Read post ›
March 26, 2024
FLS welcomes new volunteers for 2024 
Read post ›
March 15, 2024
FLS submission to amend Australia’s Family Law Act  
Read post ›
February 29, 2024
Message from the CEO – February 2024  
Read newsletter ›
FLS 2024 Trainee Lawyer
February 29, 2024
Welcoming FLS’s 2024 Trainee Lawyer
Read post ›
A message from the CEO, January 2024, Hamish McLachlan
January 31, 2024
Message from the CEO – January 2024  
Read newsletter ›
January 18, 2024
Fitzroy Legal Service doors remain open this Invasion Day
Read post ›
Hamish McLachlan
January 9, 2024
Introducing FLS Interim CEO, Hamish McLachlan  
Read post ›
November 28, 2023
In the future, people like Thuy will no longer face unfair barriers
Read post ›
November 8, 2023
FLS announces CEO departure following a legacy of purposeful growth
Read post ›
Solicitor and former Australian Government Solicitor, Michael Kingston
October 24, 2023
Five minutes with former FLS volunteer, Michael Kingston
Read post ›
June 30, 2023
Reflections on a harm reduction intervention in the Inquest into Veronica Nelson’s passing
Read article ›
Human Rights News
June 19, 2023
Victoria Police breaches human rights and its own policies at cannabis legalisation rally
Read article ›
May 26, 2023
FLS submission on a medically supervised injecting service in the City of Melbourne
Read post ›
March 31, 2023
Q+Law: A new legal service with and for LGBTIQA+ communities
Read article ›
March 10, 2023
FLS joins calls for a Supervised Injecting Service in the CBD
Read article ›
January 24, 2023
Fitzroy Legal Service joins in calls from Aboriginal, legal, and human rights organisations for the urgent reform of Victoria’s bail laws.
Read article ›
October 13, 2022
Vale Uncle Jack
Read article ›
October 22, 2021
Human Rights don’t stop at prison gates. It is time to end routine strip searching of people in prison!
Read post ›
View all news ›