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Annual Report 2020 - 2021

Community legal education

The Legal Aid NSW Community Legal Education Program provides targeted education for priority client groups and community professionals working with these client groups.

This year we relied on our digital delivery methods to stay in touch with the community and present relevant and engaging educational content; however, the number of community legal education (CLE) services delivered to community members continued to be affected by COVID-19.

Over the past year we delivered 498 CLE services in person and attended over 130 stalls and events with the general public. In total we delivered 1,293 community legal education services, a 27.7 percent decrease on the previous year.

We published 51 podcast episodes and hosted 319 online CLE events. We delivered 510 CLE services to community and health workers, with 9,412 attendances by community and health workers.

Area of law




Change from previous year

Criminal law





Family law





Civil law










Keeping older people safe in our communities

This year we produced a number of resources highlighting elder abuse and how members of the community can keep older people safe.

We supported the Legal Aid NSW Elder Abuse Service by launching a podcast and series on YouTube called Age, Abuse & Justice. The goal of this series was to raise awareness of what elder abuse looks like and how the law deals with it.

We created a short podcast series called Hard Conversations which featured people discussing their understanding of elder abuse, the ways they think about it in their communities, and how we can start to address it together. The episodes cover issues facing rural and regional areas, engaging with diverse communities, and working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

We created an A4 wall calendar for older people that was rolled out alongside the very popular Legal Topics for Older People diary. It featured information and referral details on legal topics relevant to older people.

Resources for young people

We launched two new resources to help young people understand their legal rights and identify where to get help.

The first resource is an animated video, How can the law help me?, to encourage young people to recognise issues that can be classified as legal problems, such as fines, problems at work, bills and trouble with family members and the police. Contact details are provided for LawAccess NSW and the Legal Aid NSW Children’s Legal Service Youth Hotline.

The second resource is a publication called What are my rights? A handbook for young people. This handbook looks at some of the common day-to-day problems that young people face like unpaid fines, debts, problems with a landlord, and explains their rights and how to get help.

Children’s book for refugees – The Ribbon

We collaborated with the Legal Aid NSW Refugee Service and publisher Lost in Books to create a children’s book aimed at refugee children and their mothers called The Ribbon.

The book informs children, and through them their parents, of the fact that Legal Aid NSW exists as a service and can help with problems that might not seem legal. It includes important contact details for vulnerable women to use when they want to get legal help from the Refugee Service. It is also a story book that children and their parents can enjoy reading.

The book has been translated into Arabic. Versions in Burmese, Swahili and Persian will soon be available for refugee communities.

The Ribbon

A day on Country at Warre Warren

The Elder Abuse Service has a particular focus on supporting older Aboriginal clients. The theme for Seniors Week this year was In our Nature. In partnership with Aboriginal organisations and the local community legal centre, we hosted an elders’ event on Country to acknowledge the role of elders in Aboriginal culture and to bring them together after the isolation of COVID-19.

The main part of the day was a trip to Country, the 1,200-hectare sacred place west of Wyong near Mangrove Dam known as Warre Warren. The area is a place rich in history and Aboriginal cave art dating back 10,000 years. According to Dreaming stories, this was the place where the male and female creators first stepped onto the earth.

After the day on Country, the elders attended a forum where they could speak to service providers, including Legal Aid NSW, Centrelink, and health services.

Aunty Lila and Mary Lovelock

Senior solicitor in the Legal Aid NSW Elder Abuse Unit Mary Lovelock (right) with Aunty Lila (left) at Warre Warren.

Story iconLaunch of an animation to improve ADVO comprehension

The Cooperative Legal Service Delivery (CLSD) program launched an animation, Got an AVO? How to Stick to Your Order, which aims to help people understand and comply with an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO).

Originally developed by CLSD program partners in Albury and released as a pocket-sized brochure, the animation is an extension of the brochure to provide increased accessibility. It contains an explanation of ADVOs, the consequences of breaching them, tips for sticking to them, and frequently asked questions based on real-life scenarios to assist defendants in avoiding a breach of their ADVO. It is available to watch and share via the Legal Aid NSW YouTube channel.

Year ahead iconThe year ahead

  • We will create a national online learning module to assist people who are not eligible for legal aid to complete their divorce online.
  • We will create resources for students and parents about school suspension and expulsion to encourage people to get legal help.
  • We will develop a podcast series for community workers and families about what happens when their client or family member goes to prison.
  • We will create new and innovative resources that utilise social media and digital content.