About us

Our vision and values

LACW’s vision is that all women in Victoria can access pathways out of the justice system through exceptional legal representation and support.

We are committed to being the leading provider of specialist, gender-responsive legal and case management services to women throughout Victoria, delivering a holistic response with a focus on criminal defence.

We are:

  • Fearless – we advocate in spaces that are often unseen, and challenge the status quo to fight for the rights of our clients
  • Client-centred – our starting point is our clients and their needs
  • Holistic – we provide wrap-around support that goes beyond addressing the legal problem to focus on the underlying needs of our clients
  • Inclusive – we recognise the ongoing discrimination and prejudice faced by trans and non-binary folk in the legal and justice systems, and proudly support them by providing representation, support and advocacy
  • We recognise the particular prejudice and discrimination faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the legal and justice systems, and are committed to addressing these in our advocacy and representation
  • We recognise the particular prejudice and discrimination faced by people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and people with disabilities, in the legal and justice systems, and work with a range of communities and organisations to address these issues

Our approach

Before LACW there was no specialised service for women in Victoria dealing with criminal matters. Yet women are the fastest growing demographic in Victoria’s prison population, the highest represented demographic in poverty indicators and are at greatest risk of becoming impoverished due to their occupation of identified risk groups for poverty (for example, sole parents).

Many women share common pathways to criminalisation. A specialised service for women that understands and addresses those issues is better placed to interrupt the trajectory that sees women enter and become entrenched in the criminal legal system.

We provide a thorough assessment as part of our intake process that identifies both legal and non-legal needs. We provide intensive case management to ensure that clients’ needs are met. We have close relationships with other allied service providers including arrangements for visiting professionals to assist our clients.

We are free to those who cannot pay and for those at greatest risk of harm due to family violence, homelessness or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status.

Annual Reports

FY22-23 Annual Report
FY22-23 Financial Statements
FY21-22 Annual Report
FY21-22 Financial Statements
FY20-21 Annual Report
FY19-20 Annual Report
FY18-19 Annual Report
FY17-18 Annual Report
FY16-17 Annual Report

Healing Garden

The artwork used on this website – Healing Garden – was created by Stacey, a proud Taungurung/Boon Wurrung artist with experience of the criminal legal system.

As Stacey explains, “the healing garden is a place of refuge. The blue tongue lizard goes there to get away from the environment of the jail. This is the place where Thelma and I went to heal together.”

LACW has licenced this artwork through The Torch, a not-for-profit organisation that provides art, cultural and arts industry support to Indigenous people with experience of the criminal legal system.