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Interim legal service appointed for Torres Strait

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A TEMPORARY deal has been struck with the Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Service to provide interim legal services to the Torres Strait and NPA as ATSILS prepares to depart.

QIFVLS will operate from offices in Bamaga and Thursday Island, and provide outreach support to the Outer Islands, ensuring all communities have access to culturally appropriate legal services, preventive legal support and community legal education.

The Torres Strait Regional Authority said a tender for core legal services was underway to determine a legal service provider for the region for the next four years.

The ATSILS contract was not renewed, despite a successful run in the region for the past decade.

TSRA chair Pedro Stephen said: “Legal services are crucial in our region and the TSRA supports access to quality, timely and culturally appropriate legal representation, advocacy and support for our people.

“With over 10 years of assisting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Domestic and Family Violence Law, Child Protection and Victim’s Assistance, QIFVLS is well placed to support community during this time of transition.

“The TSRA is proud to partner with QIFVLS to build community’s knowledge about the law, and the rights, choices and help available for persons affected by family violence.

“QIFVLS will be working hand in hand with local organisations to provide community legal education to increase awareness and understanding of respectful relationships and early intervention supports to prevent the need for contact with the child protection system and criminal justice system.”

QIFVLS chief executive officer Wynetta Dewis said: “QIFVLS is excited to be expanding to the Torres Strait region, and will work closely with existing service providers to navigate through barriers and produce solutions for clients.

“Our model at its heart is focused on generational change, strongly driven by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, whilst supporting the self-determination of Indigenous people but especially women and their children.

Residents will be able to access QIFVLS services from July 1 by calling 1800 887 700 or by visiting www.qifvls.com.au

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