The main objective of Women's Legal Aid is to increase women's access to Legal Aid Queensland (LAQ), and to ensure a best practice response to women by LAQ.
As a way of monitoring women's access to LAQ services, we produce the Gender Equity Report: A Profile of Women and Legal Aid Queensland.
This report provides a profile of women's access to LAQ, identifies trends and gaps regarding access to legal services, provides an analysis of the figures and includes recommendations for consideration.
For the past eight years the statistical measure used in this report has been the Gender Equity Indicator (GEI). However, since 2005 LAQ has introduced benchmarks for measuring access. LAQ has been tracking data regarding access for a number of disadvantaged groups of people including women. The level of access to LAQ services is recorded in its annual report.
Women's Legal Aid
Women's Legal Aid is a specialist unit within LAQ. The Unit was established in 1995 and is staffed by a Coordinator, Legal Officer, Social Worker and two court assistance workers (based in the Brisbane Magistrates Court and Holland Park Magistrates Court). Women's Legal Aid provides legal information, advice and representation, specialist court assistance, and social work support to women clients of Legal Aid Queensland. Women's Legal Aid is also responsible for the Violence Against Women Strategy within Legal Aid Queensland.
Why a gender analysis of access to Legal Aid Queensland services?
Access to justice has been recognised as one of the major issues affecting women particularly in their access to legal services. LAQ is one of the major providers of legal services in Queensland and recognises that women are often further disadvantaged in their access to justice by their social and economic status in society.
A gender analysis of the issues facing women accessing legal aid makes those issues visible. It also challenges the held view that services, programs and policies have an equal impact on every member of society regardless of their gender.