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Policy Bulletin 2021 / 2 (Extended Legal Assistance – Victims of violent crime)

10 Jun 2021

The Legal Aid NSW Board approved expanding the Extended Legal Assistance (ELA) service to include assistance to victims of violent crime under the Victims Rights and Supports Act 2013.

Background

In July 2018, the Legal Aid NSW Board approved the implementation of a new Service Type, Extended Legal Assistance (ELA). ELA is an extended legal service which includes taking carriage of a matter (or multiple matters) in an ongoing, representative capacity, but due to the nature of the matter/s it does not proceed to a court or tribunal, or the lawyer is not required to appear before a court or tribunal. ELA is provided only on an inhouse basis.

The Victims Rights and Supports Act 2013 enables victims of acts of violence to apply for counselling and financial assistance through Victims Services. Previously, Victims Services provided the support necessary for applicants to complete their application including documenting the injury. However, recent changes mean that as of 1 July 2020, staff from Victims Services no longer provide this support and victims now need to provide the supporting documentation upfront for their application to be assessed. This change shifts the evidentiary burden back to the applicants who are often traumatised and face barriers to completing, obtaining and paying for documentation. 

 

What has changed?

ELA is now available to assist victims of violent crime to apply for support under the Victims Rights and Support Act 2013, or to apply for an internal review of a decision under the Act.

For details of the policy see, Policy Online: ELA Civil Law 15: Victims of violent crime

Commencement date

The change applies to applications determined on or after 31 May 2021.

 

Contact for further information

Please contact the Client Eligibility Unit for any questions about the changes at aideen.mcgarrigle@legalaid.nsw.gov.au or 9219 5701.