Q+Law: A New Legal Service With and for LGBTIQA+ Communities

Fitzroy Legal Service is excited to announce that we have been awarded funding from the Victorian Government to establish Q+Law, a safe and inclusive legal service for the LGBTIQA+ community in Melbourne and statewide.

In partnership with Queerspace, a service of Drummond Street Services, the new legal service, will be delivered with and for the LGBTIQA+ community.

Q+Law will improve access to justice for LGBTIQA+ Victorians. Q+Law will deliver services at the Victorian Pride Centre and other community sites, including Queerspace and Your Community Health. Legal advice and referrals will be available statewide via phone or online platforms.

Fitzroy Legal Service has a strong history of fighting discrimination and disadvantage and, alongside its partners, will work to ensure that Q+Law champions and drives law and policy reform in areas that affect the LGBTIQA+ community.

In line with Fitzroy Legal Service’s commitment to community-driven justice, we will centre community need and voice in our work to deliver Q+Law. This new service will build on our more than a decade-long history of service delivery to the LGBTIQA+ community, including support for trans people in custody, our LGBTIQA+ advice service and our delivery of Family Violence and Family Law legal services and education.

Fitzroy Legal Service acknowledges the work undertaken by Southside Justice in leading community legal service provision to the LGBTIQA+ community and will be working collaboratively with the Southside Justice team as the new service is developed.

Kristine Olaris, CEO at Fitzroy Legal Service, says:

“LGBTIQA+ communities are diverse and experience unique and often complex legal needs. This funding will allow us to respond to these needs through safe, responsive and inclusive legal services.

We are excited to be establishing an innovative, community-led legal service that will improve access to justice for LGBTIQA+ Victorians. We look forward to working with other LGBTIQA+ organisations and advocates to address the systemic discrimination faced by the LGBTIQA+ Victorians and thereby contribute to building a fairer Victorian community.”

Karen Field, CEO at Drummond Street Services, says:

“We are delighted to expand our existing partnership with Fitzroy Legal Service to ensure access to legal services to all LGBTIQA+ Victorians regardless of where you live. The Queerspace Community Governance Committee will provide expert lived experience advice and ensure the intersectional voices of our communities inform the service development over time.”

About FLS

As one of the oldest community legal centres in Australia, Fitzroy Legal Service (FLS) is dedicated to assisting the members of the community who face marginalisation, discrimination and/or disadvantage, with legal information, advice and representation.

With a longstanding commitment to community-driven justice, FLS provides legal services for communities who face systemic barriers to justice due to factors such as poverty, race, sex, sexuality
and/or gender diversity, disability and other often intersecting forms of discrimination. We provide a statewide service for incarcerated people, and various multidisciplinary outreach programs reaching communities of colour, homeless people, LGBTIQ+ communities, and people who use drugs.

FLS has provided services directly to the LGBTIQA+ community for well over a decade, including our work supporting trans people in custody, and our LGBTIQ+ legal advice clinic, as a part of our night service. In addition, we have provided a specialist family violence and family law legal service response at Queerspace since 2016.

FLS has a reputation as a champion of law reform and has a long and bold history of conducting public interest litigation, bringing on cases that support social change.

We have also delivered community legal education both to other organisations and to community members for the entirety of our 50-year history.

FLS is staffed by a core group of dedicated professionals and powered by over 300 passionate volunteers, including previous FLS employees and other lawyers and barristers, who offer their time in a volunteer or pro-bono capacity to support our work.

FLS’s vision is a fairer Victorian community where the legal and social systems support equality and justice for all.

About Queerspace

Queerspace forms a part of Drummond Street Services (DS), a community-based not-for-profit organisation incorporated in Victoria. DS was first established in 1887, and it has over 50 years of experience supporting, advocating for, and affirming LGBTIQA+ individuals and communities.

DS has a reputation as a high-quality, innovative sector leader, particularly in the delivery, development and design of evidence-informed, inclusive programming across a range of therapeutic, clinical and community-based settings.

In 2009, our LGBTIQA+ services and research expanded and Queerspace as a community-driven entity for LGBTIQA+ health and wellbeing support service was established. Queerspace provides wrap-around support for issues including mental health, relationships, family, parenting, mentoring, AOD, housing, family violence, criminal justice involvement and disability support across all ages. Our staff reflect the intersectional identities of the individuals, families and communities we support. Our services are offered face-to-face and online from a range of co-located sites across Victoria.