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Legal aid to be increased in WA amid COVID-19 crisis

Western Australians who are experiencing legal problems because of COVID-19 now have greater access to legal support, with Legal Aid WA increasing its services in the community.

user iconTony Zhang 02 April 2020 Big Law
WA District Court
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Attorney-General John Quigley said that the current global health crisis has given rise to new legal problems for many Western Australians.

“The current global health crisis and subsequent economic challenges have given rise to new legal problems for many Western Australians,” Mr Quigley said.

“Employment law problems, difficulties paying mortgages, greater physical and financial abuse of the elderly, hire purchase and loan issues, and immigration and visa matters are all emerging as very real problems in our community.”

 
 

Mr Quigley confirmed the number of appointments being made available in areas of high need, including employment law, mortgage hardship, elder abuse, consumer protection, credit and debt and financial hardship, have been increased.

Specialist immigration law advice is also available to anyone residing in Western Australia on a temporary visa, such as a partner visa, who is experiencing family and domestic violence.

The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to see a rise in the number of incidents of family violence across Australia, with WA Police reporting an increase of 11 domestic violence incidents each day. 

Regrettably, family violence has increased, and is likely to keep increasing, due to the impacts of the virus,” Mr Quigley said.

Legal Aid WA has allocated additional resources to respond to family violence.

Legal Aid has responded to the anticipated increase in family violence in a number of ways, including by transitioning services from face-to-face, to telephone, online chat and video wherever possible and increasing the capacity of its telephone Infoline, with a high priority on family violence-related matters,” Mr Quigley said.

It is important that during this difficult time, our most vulnerable community members know they still have the protection of the law and that they are not alone.

The coronavirus outbreak has had a widespread effect on the criminal justice system and legal aid across the states.

Recently legal aid was held back in Queensland whilst NSW and Victorian barristers were offered financial assistance in particular to assist legal aid matters during the crisis.