Go to content

Annual Report 2015 - 2016

Meeting the needs of diverse clients

Legal Aid NSW continues to broaden and strengthen its focus on becoming an inclusive and diversity-confident organisation.

We provide many services to a range of diverse clients.

The Diversity Action Plan 2015–2016 prioritises our actions for people from multicultural backgrounds, people with disability, younger people, older people, women, people of diverse genders and sexualities, and people living in rural and regional areas. Clients and staff are included in the plan.

A summary of performance highlights from the Diversity Action Plan appears in Appendix 9.

Fact file
Case grants and inhouse duty services to clients born in non-English speaking countries 12.5%
Amount spent on interpreters and translators $974,127

OBJECTIVE Access to justice

Clients received services tailored to their needs

We made wide use of interpreters and translators, both face-to-face and over the phone, for client interviews and community legal education sessions. We spent $974,127 on these services. We delivered 317 face-to-face community legal education workshops for multicultural clients, 600 for young people, 77 for older people, and 550 for people in rural and regional areas of New South Wales.

Publications in other languages and easy English

We published new information about our services in 25 languages. We published legal information in easy English about help at court for victims of domestic and family violence. Easy English is aimed at people with low English literacy, learning disability or poor educational outcomes.

Accessible information for the Deaf community

Two new family law videos on the Legal Aid NSW website in Auslan (Australian Sign Language) explain how mediation can help solve a family law dispute and child support issues. They are part of a series of videos in Auslan providing information about Legal Aid NSW services as well as common legal issues. These resources are also available on the Legal Aid NSW YouTube channel.

OBJECTIVE Excellence in legal services

Highlights included:

  • including Legal Aid NSW diversity and inclusion principles and practices in panel lawyer application documents and the training module for panel lawyer selection committees
  • developing a framework to improve the skills and knowledge of staff who work with clients with mental illness
  • amending forms and client databases to include disability data.

OBJECTIVE Strong partnerships

Multicultural radio project wins award

Borrowers Beware, a joint project between Legal Aid NSW and the Seniors Rights Service was recognised with the 2016 ZEST Award for an Exceptional Community Partnership Project Across a Region. The project used community radio to educate Arabic, Croatian, Serbian and Macedonian-speaking elderly people on the dangers of borrowing money against their home for the benefit of their children.

Exceptional award for an exceptional team: Nalika Padmasena (Seniors Rights Service), Dana Beiglari (Legal Aid NSW), Diana Bernard (Seniors Rights Service) and Rebekah Doran (Legal Aid NSW).Exceptional award for an exceptional team: Nalika Padmasena (Seniors Rights Service), Dana Beiglari (Legal Aid NSW), Diana Bernard (Seniors Rights Service) and Rebekah Doran (Legal Aid NSW).

Explaining legal words for interpreters and bilingual workers

We conducted five training sessions on basic legal terminology to enhance the knowledge of NAATI accredited interpreters who work in legal settings. We also provided support to a research project conducted by the University of NSW on interactions between lawyers and interpreters.

Icon for The year aheadThe year ahead

  • Expand legal services to refugees settling in New South Wales in partnership with specialist non-government and government refugee services.
  • Expand community legal education on domestic and family violence for asylum seekers, newly arrived migrants and Settlement Services staff in partnership with Settlement Services International.
  • Develop and review resources to improve communication with people with limited English skills.
  • Publish easy English information about police powers and family law.
  • Complete an online form so people can apply for a grant of legal aid online.