Listen
Stop

Domestic Violence — Housing and Social Security Legal Help

Who are we?

Domestic violence can have a big impact on your housing situation and can cause problems with Centrelink and Public Housing.

Canberra Community Law is a specialist legal service that can provide free advice and assistance with Public Housing and Centrelink. We also have a dedicated service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients.

Public Housing

Experiencing domestic violence can have a big impact on your housing situation. Getting into public housing can be difficult.

If you are already a public housing tenant, you may need to move properties or you may have a debt if your partner has damaged the property.

Some examples of common housing issues for people experiencing domestic violence include:

  • Problems getting into public housing
  • Problems getting a transfer
  • Housing repair debts

Social Security (Centrelink)

Domestic violence can cause problems with Centrelink. These problems can occur for many reasons, including:

  • the way that Centrelink calculates your income and assets
  • whether Centrelink think you are a member of a couple
  • any rules that affect whether you can apply for a payment

Some examples of common Centrelink and social security issues for people escaping domestic violence include:

  • Claims refused because of a partner’s income
  • Debt recovery because Centrelink thinks you have been overpaid
  • Problems with Parenting Payment and Family Tax Benefit
  • Not being able to claim Centrelink because of a compensation preclusion period

How can we help?

We can provide you with free legal advice on your situation and the options you have.

In some cases, we may also be able to:

  • Talk to Housing ACT or Centrelink on your behalf
  • Help you to make an application for public housing or Centrelink
  • Help you to appeal decisions
  • Represent you in the Tribunal

Getting in touch with us:

a hand drawn illustration of a phone a green phone in an orange circle
Social Security and Housing Law

Phone: (02) 6218 7900

Download brochure

Domestic Violence — Housing and Social Security Legal Help Brochure (PDF, 2.4MB)

Dhurrawang Aboriginal Human Rights ProgramLegal advice and assistance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the ACT on housing, Centrelink and race discrimination issues on (02) 6218 7900.

We also have a series of factsheets on common problems faced by people in public housing and common issues with Centrelink. These are available from our office (on request) and can be found on our website at www.canberracommunitylaw.org.au

An image of The Indigenous Flag & the Torres Strait Islander Flag
Canberra Community Law acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we work in the ACT and surrounding region and pay our respects to the Ngunnawal elders past, present and future for they hold the stories, traditions, and the cultures of their people. We are grateful that we share this land and express our sorrow for the costs of this sharing to Australia’s First Peoples. We will continue to acknowledge the legacy of our history and strive in our goals to empower our community through social justice. We hope that our efforts will continue to a realisation of equity, justice and partnership with Traditional Custodians of this land.

Listen
Stop

Free Legal Help in Prison

It is sometimes hard to know which legal service you need to talk to. We have included the available free legal services in the ACT and the legal areas they can help you in.

To make it easier for you we have also included the prison phone extension number (look for #)so that you can call the legal service for free (where this is an option).

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples

Aboriginal Legal Service – #39 or 6249 8488 Criminal and family law

Canberra Community Law’s Dhurrawang Program – #48 or 6218 7977 Race discrimination, Centrelink and public housing

Housing and Centrelink

Canberra Community Law – #48 or 6218 7977 For ACT public housing, community housing and occupancy agreements and Centrelink matters

Canberra Community Law’s Dhurrawang Program – #48 or 6218 7977 For Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples

Legal Aid ACT – #75 or 1300 654 314 For ACT private rentals

Criminal law

Street Law – #48 or 6218 7995 For minor criminal offences if you’re homeless or at risk of homelessness

Legal Aid ACT – #75 or #49 (existing clients) or 1300 654 314 For all criminal matters

Aboriginal Legal Service – #39 or 6249 8488 For criminal matters if you are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander

McKenna Taylor -0413 458 650 For free representation for women – parole matters only

Victims of Crime Financial Assistance and Protection Orders

Legal Aid ACT Domestic Violence and Personal Protection Unit – #75 or 1300 654 314 For Domestic Violence Orders and Personal Protection Orders

Women’s Legal Centre – #95 or 6257 4499 For Domestic Violence Orders, Personal Protection Orders and Victims of Crime financial assistance for women only

Legal Aid ACT – #75 or 1300 654 314 Victims of Crime financial assistance

Debts, fines and consumer matters

Street Law – #48 or 6218 7995 For people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness

The Consumer Law Centre of the ACT – 6143 0044

CARE Financial Counselling Services – #13 or 1800 007 007

Legal Aid ACT – #75 or 1300 654 314

Family law

Divorce, separation, property settlement, child custody, care and protection

Legal Aid ACT – #75 or 1300 654 314

Women’s Legal Centre – #95 or 6257 4499 Available to women only

Aboriginal Legal Service – #39 or 6249 8488 Available to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples

Employment law

Street Law – #48 or 6218 7995 For people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness

Legal Aid ACT – #75 or 1300 654 314

Women’s Legal Centre – #95 or 6257 4499 Available to women only

Discrimination

Canberra Community Law’s Disability Discrimination Lawyer – #48 or 6218 7918 For disability discrimination matters

Canberra Community Law’s Dhurrawang Program – #48 or 6218 7977 Race discrimination matters for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples

Legal Aid ACT – #75 or 1300 654 314

Women’s Legal Centre – #95 or 6257 4499 Available to women only

If you’re not sure who to contact about your legal problem, you can also email Street Law on streetlaw@canberracommunitylaw.org.au

Please include your name, date of birth and a brief description of your legal issue (including the name of any other parties to your matter). If we can’t help you, we’ll put you in touch with someone who can.

To add Street Law to your approved email list you will need to complete the AMC ‘Request to alter, add email and web addresses’ form. Please put Michelle Barclay as the contact name and 6218 7995 as the contact number.

Listen
Stop

Help for People with Disabilities Brochure

About Canberra Community Law (CCL)

CCL provides free, independent and confidential legal services to people on low incomes or facing other disadvantage in the ACT. We provide seven legal services:

  • Housing Law can help if you are having problems with public housing (Housing ACT), ACT community housing provider or an occupancy agreement.
  • Social Security Law can help you with Centrelink matters if you live in the ACT.
  • Dhurrawang Aboriginal Human Rights Program can help all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the ACT with housing, Centrelink and race discrimination matters. Dhurrawang can also assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in south-east NSW with Centrelink matters.
  • Street Law can help people who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness with most civil and minor criminal law matters.
  • Disability Discrimination Law can help you if you or someone you care for have been discriminated against because of a disability.
  • Socio-Legal Practice Clinic provides intensive legal and social work support for people with complex legal and social support needs. The clinic accepts internal referrals from CCL lawyers. Please discuss with a CCL lawyer if you think you might benefit from this assistance.
  • Night Time Legal Advice Service provides information, referral or one-off legal advice in most areas of law.

How we can help people with disability

People with disability can access any of our services. Many of our clients are people with disability.

Examples of legal help we have provided people facing barriers related to their disability include:

  • making disability discrimination complaints to the ACT Human Rights Commission and the Australian Human Rights Commission
  • other advocacy to resolve disability discrimination matters
  • making health services complaints that are related to a person’s disability
  • making disability service complaints
  • obtaining accessible public housing
  • Disability Support Pension, mobility allowance and other Centrelink matters
  • community legal education on issues affecting people with disability
  • law and policy reform to support people with disability.

Please see our Disability Action and Inclusion Plan for further information about our commitment to supporting people with disability, and parents and carers of people with disability.

For more information about our services see the brochure on Our Services.

 

A hand drawn illustration of a forlorn boy sitting on some steps

An image of The Indigenous Flag & the Torres Strait Islander Flag

Canberra Community Law acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we work in the ACT and surrounding region and pay our respects to their elders past, present and future for they hold the memories, traditions, the cultures and hopes of Australia’s First Peoples.

Listen
Stop

Dhurrawang Aboriginal Human Rights Program

Call Dhurrawang on (02) 6218 7900

Who are we?

Dhurrawang is a specialist legal service of Canberra Community Law. We provide advice and representation to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the ACT. We can also assist Aboriginal and Torres Islander communities in south-east NSW with Centrelink matters.

Our work is informed by the human rights principles of participation, inclusion and self-determination. This means that we make sure that you can participate in and have access to all information relating to the decisionmaking processes that affect your life and well-being. We will seek your input about how we can improve our service and make it more receptive to your needs.

We use human rights laws to support your case and provide human rights education to communities.

Our lawyers are culturally competent and respectful. We will work with you and your family in a way that suits your needs and respects your culture. We are happy to meet you at our office or to meet you somewhere else where you are more comfortable. Above all we will ensure that you understand and are involved in every aspect of your legal case.

If you are deaf or have a hearing impairment or speech impairment contact us through the National Relay Service at www.relayservice.gov.au

How can Dhurrawang help you?

We can give you advice and assist you in dealing with:

Housing problems in the ACT, for example:

  • Problems with getting housing
  • Rent arrears
  • Evictions
  • Housing transfers
  • Housing debts

Centrelink problems, for example:

  • Applying for Centrelink payments
  • Appealing Centrelink decisions
  • Debts
  • Payments cut off
  • Claims refused

Race discrimination, where you have been treated unfairly because of your race, colour or descent in:

  • Employment
  • Education
  • Accommodation
  • Getting or using services
  • Accessing public places

If you need help about something that is not listed here, we can help you to find the right person to help. Just call on (02) 6218 7900 or Free Call 1800 445 665 (from South East NSW for Centrelink matters) and let us know what we can help with.

Acknowledgment of Land

The Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Flags
Canberra Community Law acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land on which we work in the ACT and surrounding region and pay our respect to the Ngunnawal elders past, present and future for they hold the stories, traditions, and the cultures of their people. We are grateful that we share this land and express our sorrow for the costs of this sharing to Australia’s First Peoples. We will continue to acknowledge the legacy of our history and strive in our goals to empower our community through social justice. We hope that our efforts will contribute to a realisation of equity, justice and partnership with traditional custodians of this land.

Wiradjuri artist Leanne Popeartwork - ‘Fresh Life AfterRain’ used for Canberra Community Law's 2017 identifier, marketing and promotional materials

Artwork Acknowledgement

We acknowledge Wiradjuri artist Leanne Pope for the use of her artwork ‘Fresh Life After Rain’ 2017 for our identifier, marketing and promotional materials.

The original artwork is located at the offices of Canberra Community Law, Canberra ACT.

Listen
Stop

Night Time Legal Advice Service Brochure

Do you need help with a legal problem?

Call Night Time Legal Advice Service on (02) 6218 7900 on Tuesday night between 6pm to 7pm

How can the Night Time Legal Advice Service (NTLAS) help you?

NTLAS is a service of Canberra Community Law (formerly Welfare Rights and Legal Centre).

NTLAS provides free and confidential information, referral or one-off legal advice in most areas of law.

Some examples of problems NTLAS can help you with are:

  • Fines and other traffic infringements
  • Minor Criminal Law offences
  • Employment Law
  • Debts
  • Complaints
  • Consumer issues

NTLAS does not provide advice on:

  • Public housing Law
  • Centrelink/Social Security Law
  • Disability Discrimination Law

These areas are covered by Canberra Community Law’s day time legal services. Our other services are listed on our services page.

NTLAS does not have a migration agent and can’t provide immigration or refugee legal advice.

NTLAS can’t provide advice to credit providers, landlords or employers where the rights of creditors, tenants and employees may be at stake.

How can you contact NTLAS?

NTLAS operates on Tuesday evenings from 6pm to 8pm (from February to November each year).

a hand drawn illustration of a phone a green phone in an orange circle

You can call us on Tuesday night between 6pm to 7pm on (02) 6218 7900

A hand drawn image of a clock

If you need an interpreter please call the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 131 450 and ask them to ring us.

If you are deaf or have a hearing impairment or speech impairment, contact us through the National Relay Service at www.relayservice.gov.au

What is NTLAS?

A solicitor is employed to supervise NTLAS but otherwise the service is dependent upon a committed group of volunteer solicitors.

NTLAS aims to provide at least some initial one off advice and guidance on legal matters.

The service is not resourced to provide casework or ongoing assistance but, in limited circumstances, NTLAS may be able to help with the drafting of letters and other documents.

Feedback Welcome

Canberra Community Law welcomes your feedback. You can telephone the Executive Director/Principal Solicitor on (02) 6218 7900 or by mail at PO Box 337, Civic Square ACT, 2608.

Alternatively you can write to the Chairperson care of our postal address marking your letter “Confidential”.

An image of The Indigenous Flag & the Torres Strait Islander Flag

We acknowledge and celebrate the First Australians on whose traditional lands we work and pay our respects to the elders of the Ngunnawal people past and present.

Listen
Stop

Street Law Brochure

An Outreach Legal Service for the Homeless

Call Street Law on 1800 787 529

Who Street Law helps

Street Law is a specialist program of Canberra Community Law. Street Law is independent of government.

We provide help to people who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of homelessness. This can include people who are sleeping rough, couch surfing, staying in a refuge or other temporary accommodation. Street Law may also be able to help if your housing is unsafe or insecure or if you are at risk of losing your home.

How can Street Law help you?

Street Law provides free, independent and confidential legal advice and assistance. For example, we can help with a range of legal issues including:

  • Proof of ID
  • Traffic and other types of fines
  • Centrelink issues
  • Housing issues
  • Minor criminal law
  • Employment law
  • Debts
  • Consumer issues

We may also be able to help in other areas of law or refer you to another service that can help.

Not sure if you have a legal problem?

Contact us and we can help you work through the issue or put you in touch with someone that can help.

No wrong door

Not sure if we are the right service? Street Law can also help connect you with other legal and non-legal services that may be able to help you.

Street Law knows that one problem can lead to another and that early action is important.

How we can help

Our lawyers can usually…

  • explain what your legal issues are
  • explain how you can access your rights
  • put you in touch with other organisations that can help you.

We may be able to…

  • assist you with your legal issues
  • help negotiate with organisations, government services, lenders and others
  • help with tribunals or court hearings
  • help with practical problems.

How to contact Street Law

You can contact Street Law by:

  • calling Street Law on 1800 STRLAW (1800 787 529) or (02) 6218 7900
  • coming to one of our outreach sessions
  • dropping into the office to make an appointment
  • speaking to any community organisation who can make an appointment for you.

What else does Street Law do?

Community Legal Education

Street Law provides training to the community sector on how to spot a legal issue.

This training can empower workers to refer clients who need legal help.

Street Law can also provide advice to workers about identifying legal issues and help workers refer their clients to the right service.

Street Law also provides training to clients on issues that impact them.

Street Law has developed training on working with vulnerable clients to assist junior lawyers in private firms and government who wish to undertake pro bono work.

Law Reform & Policy

Street Law is well placed to see when a law or process is causing problems for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

When we see a problem, we will work to have the law changed to benefit the community and our clients.

Street Law’s law reform campaigns are driven by real problems experienced by our clients.

Street Law also works with other services and community legal centres to seek law reform and contribute to good policy.

An image of The Indigenous Flag & the Torres Strait Islander Flag
Canberra Community Law acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we work in the ACT and surrounding region and pay our respect to the Ngunnawal elders past, present and future for they hold the stories, traditions, and the cultures of their people. We are grateful that we share this land and express our sorrow for the costs of this sharing to Australia’s First Peoples. We will continue to acknowledge the legacy of our history and strive in our goals to empower our community through social justice. We hope that our efforts will contribute to a realisation of equity, justice and partnership with Traditional Custodians of this land.

Listen
Stop

Housing Law Brochure

Need help with a Public Housing, Community Housing or an Occupancy Agreement problem?

Call Housing Law on (02) 6218 7900.

Who are we?

Housing Law is a specialist legal service of Canberra Community Law (formerly Welfare Rights and Legal Centre) providing free and confidential legal help.

Housing Law can provide you with free legal advice if you are having problems with Housing ACT or a community housing provider in the ACT.

Some examples of problems we can help you with are:

  • Problems getting public housing
  • Evictions
  • Rent arrears – behind on rent
  • Housing transfers
  • Housing debts
  • Repairs and maintenance

We can also help:

Occupants

If you have an occupancy agreement or live in a caravan park, hostel or boarding house.

If you need assistance with a private tenancy matter, please phone the Tenants’ Advice Service on 1300 402 512. This service is run by Legal Aid ACT.

How can Housing Law help you?

We can provide you with initial advice on your situation and the options you have.

In some cases we may also be able to:

  • Talk to Housing ACT on your behalf
  • Help you to challenge Housing ACT or Community Housing decisions
  • Represent you in Tribunal and Court hearings

Need Help with a Housing ACT, Community Housing or Occupancy matter?

a hand drawn illustration of a phone a green phone in an orange circle

Please call us on (02) 6218 7900

If you need an interpreter please call the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 131 450 and ask them to ring us.

If you are deaf or have a hearing impairment or speech impairment, contact us through the National Relay Service at www.relayservice.gov.au

Feedback Welcome!

Canberra Community Law welcomes your feedback. You can telephone the Executive Director/Principal Solicitor on (02) 6218 7922 or by mail at PO Box 337, Civic Square ACT, 2608.

Alternatively you can write to the Chairperson care of our postal address marking your letter “Confidential”.

We cannot provide:

  • Advice to landlords
  • Advice on neighbourhood disputes
  • Advice which may lead to the eviction of another tenant (subject to limited exceptions)

We also have a series of fact sheets on common problems faced by people in public housing. These are available from our office (on request) and can be found on our Fact Sheets & Brochures Page.

Our other services and contacts are listed in the sidebar of this page.

An image of The Indigenous Flag & the Torres Strait Islander Flag

Canberra Community Law acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we work in the ACT and surrounding region and pay our respects to their elders past, present and future for they hold the memories, traditions, the cultures and hopes of Australia’s First Peoples.

Listen
Stop

Social Security Law Brochure

Need help with a Centrelink or Social Security problem?

Call Social Security Law on (02) 6218 7900.

Who are we?

Social Security law is a specialist legal service of Canberra Community Law (formerly Welfare Rights and Legal Centre) providing free and confidential legal help. We are independent of Government.

Social Security Law can help you with Centrelink and Social Security matters if you are living in the ACT.

Some examples of problems we can help you with are:

  • Appealing Centrelink decisions
  • Overpayments/underpayments
  • Entitlements
  • Debt recovery
  • Payments cut off, reduced, cancelled or suspended
  • Claims refused

If you live outside our area, we can refer you to another community legal centre which will be able to help you.

How can Social Security Law help you?

We can provide you with legal advice on your situation and the options you have.

In some cases, we may also be able to:

  • Talk to Centrelink on your behalf
  • Help you to appeal Centrelink decisions
  • Represent you in Tribunal and Court hearings

Need Help with a Centrelink/Social Security problem?

a hand drawn illustration of a phone a green phone in an orange circle

Please call us on (02) 6218 7900

If you need an interpreter please call the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 131 450 and ask them to ring us.

If you are deaf or have a hearing impairment or speech impairment, contact us through the National Relay Service at www.relayservice.gov.au

Other legal help:

We are a member of Economic Justice Australia, a peak body representing services that provide advice on Centrelink problems.

Economic Justice Australia produces factsheets on common Centrelink problem.

They can be found at https://ejaustralia.org.au/self-help/.

Our other services are available on our services page.

An image of The Indigenous Flag & the Torres Strait Islander Flag

Canberra Community Law acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we work in the ACT and surrounding region and pay our respect to the Ngunnawal elders past, present and future for they hold the stories, traditions, and the cultures of their people. We are grateful that we share this land and express our sorrow for the costs of this sharing to Australia’s First Peoples. We will continue to acknowledge the legacy of our history and strive in our goals to empower our community through social justice. We hope that our efforts will contribute to a realisation of equity, justice and partnership with Traditional Custodians of this land.

Listen
Stop

Disability Discrimination Law Brochure

Think you’ve been treated unfairly because of your disability?

Call Disability Discrimination Law on (02) 6218 7900.

Have you been treated unfairly because of your disability?

Disability Discrimination Law is a specialist legal service of Canberra Community Law (formerly Welfare Rights and Legal Centre).

We provide free, independent and confidential legal assistance in disability discrimination law.

Disability Discrimination Law is independent of Government.

What is discrimination?

Discrimination happens when a person is treated unfairly because of their disability in any of the following areas of life:

  • Employment,
  • Education,
  • Access to premises,
  • Provision of goods, services and facilities,
  • Accommodation,
  • In relation to an estate or interest in land,
  • By a club and incorporated associations,
  • In a sporting activity,
  • In the administration of Commonwealth laws and programs,
  • In requests for information.

This is not intended as legal advice but as a guide to assist you in deciding whether you might benefit from our assistance.

Who can we assist?

  • Anyone who has a disability and has been treated unfavourably because of the disability
  • Anyone who is associated with a person with a disability (such as a carer, friend or family) who has been treated unfairly because of that association
  • Anyone who is a carer, friend or family member of a person with a disability who has been treated unfavourably because of the disability and who requires supported or substituted decision-making.

How can we help you?

We can provide you with legal advice on:

  • Whether the law covers your situation
  • Your legal options and what option might work best for you
  • How to best present your case
  • Your chances of success
  • The types of outcomes you may be able to obtain.

We may be able to assist you to write your complaint or, in some cases, represent you.

Our other services are listed on the back of this brochure.

Think we can help?

A hand drawn image of a phone
You can speak to a solicitor by calling us on (02) 6218 7900

If you need an interpreter please call the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 131 450 and ask them to ring us.

If you are deaf or have a hearing impairment or speech impairment, contact us through the National Relay Service (NRS) at www.relayservice.gov.au.

TTY users phone 133 677 then ask for (02) 6218 7900.

Speak and Listen users phone 1300 555 727 then ask for (02) 6218 7900.

Internet relay users connect to the NRS (www.iprelay.com.au/call/index.aspx) then ask for (02) 6218 7900.

SMS relay users phone 0423 677 767 and ask for (02) 6218 7900.

If you prefer to communicate in writing please email us at — info@canberracommunitylaw.org.au

An image of The Indigenous Flag & the Torres Strait Islander Flag

We acknowledge and celebrate the First Australians on whose traditional lands we work and pay our respects to the elders of the Ngunnawal people past and present.

Listen
Stop

Our Services Brochure

Are legal problems getting on top of you?

Canberra Community Law provides free, independent and confidential legal services to people on low incomes or facing other disadvantage in the ACT.

What services does Canberra Community Law provide?

Canberra Community Law provides free, independent and confidential legal advice and advocacy services.

We provide seven legal services:

  • Housing Law
  • Social Security Law
  • Dhurrawang Human Rights Program
  • Street Law
  • Disability Discrimination Law
  • Socio-Legal Practice Clinic
  • Night Time Legal Advice Service

Housing Law

Housing Law can provide you with free legal advice if you are having problems with Housing ACT or a community housing provider in the ACT.

Some examples of problems we can help you with are:

  • Problems getting housing
  • Evictions
  • Rent arrears / behind on rent
  • Housing transfers
  • Housing debts
  • Repairs and maintenance

Housing Law can also help occupants on low incomes.

Please ring the Housing Law advice line on (02) 6218 7900.

For more information about this service see our brochure ‘Need help with a Public Housing, Community Housing or Occupancy Agreement problem?’

For more information about this service see our brochure ‘‘Need help with a Public Housing, Community Housing or Occupancy Agreement problem?’

Font
Off On
Size
revert
Content
Color
revert
Links
Color
revert
Skip to content