The Women's Legal Centre (WLC) advice line is a service women can call and get free legal advice. Women can speak to a lawyer and receive one-off advice about their legal problem in the areas of family law, domestic violence, employment and discrimination and/or victims of crime. If necessary and if eligible, women can make an appointment with one of our lawyers for further assistance and/or get a referral to other services that can help.
The Advice Line is a key pathway for clients to contact the Women's Legal Centre (WLC) and receive quality legal advice. This is usually the first time the client has spoken to the WLC and sometimes, the first time they have ever spoken to a lawyer about their legal problem. It is important the client feels heard, respected and supported.
Advice Line volunteers need to know:
- which questions to ask so they can give accurate legal advice and appropriate referrals
- how to ask questions - sometimes clients are overwhelmed, stressed, angry, upset and/or nervous and it can be difficult to find out what you need to know
- how to work with clients who may be difficult and/or traumatised
- what services are available in the ACT so you can make a referral if appropriate
- family law and court processes, including time limits for making applications for property orders
- how restraining orders work in the ACT and how you get one
- how the victims of crime compensation scheme works and whether clients may be eligible
- time limits for making a general protections and/or unfair dismissal claim in the fair work commission
- time limits for making a discrimination claim
- WLC processes to record information
- When and how to make appointments
This course is for WLC volunteers who are operating the advice line. It covers:
- The conversation- how to start, develop and finish a call
- Asking the right questions - how to identify the legal issues, use of prompt questions and sensitive questioning techniques
- Call management - how to manage a call, keep a client on track, and the use of prompt questions
- Managing difficult calls
- The Law - family law and employment law basics, the DVO and victims of crime process
- Referrals - when to refer, knowing who to refer to and processes
- WLC processes - collecting client information for the WLC's data and record keeping
- Client Intake - when and how to make an appointment with the WLC
The work of our advice line volunteers is incredibly important to the work of the WLC. It means more women will receive legal advice and allows WLC lawyers more time to see clients and provide a greater level of assistance. It is also a good opportunity for advice line volunteers to develop their legal skills and knowledge whilst providing a crucial community service.