10 December 2007

Redfern Legal Centre wins Law category at the 2007 Human Rights Awards

The 2007 Human Rights Law Award has been presented to the Redfern Legal Centre, an independent, non-profit community centre in inner city Sydney.

The award was accepted by the Executive Officer of the Redfern Legal Centre, Ms Helen Campbell, in the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission’s Human Rights Medal and Awards ceremony at the Sheraton on the Park Hotel in Sydney today.

Redfern Legal Centre was established in 1977 and has been providing free legal advice, legal services and legal education to disadvantaged people, and the groups who advocate for them, ever since. The centre has also campaigned tirelessly to reduce inequalities and defects in the legal system and the administrative and social practices that impact upon disadvantaged people.

The centre operates on a very limited budget. It relies heavily on volunteer labour and pro-bono assistance from legal professionals to service a heavy caseload and clients that number in the thousands. A very high proportion of the centre’s clients are from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities.

One of the centre’s major achievements has been the coordination of the innovative Redfern Women’s Domestic Violence Court Assistance Scheme, which aims to ensure that women seeking a restraining order have access to both legal assistance and to any other support services they may require (such as housing, income support and counselling). The scheme is widely recognised as a successful model for providing women who suffer domestic violence with the support that they need.

Much of the centre’s activities are concerned with domestic violence, disability discrimination, racial discrimination and Indigenous issues.

The Law Award is sponsored by the Law Council of Australia.  The award was presented by Mr Ross Ray, President of the Law Council of Australia.

Other awards presented at the ceremony today are for achievements in Arts Non-Fiction, Television, Print Media, Radio, Community Awards for both organisations and individuals and the prestigious Human Rights Medal. For more information see www.humanrights.gov.au/about/hr_awards

Media contact:  Brinsley Marlay (02) 9284 9656 or 0430 366 529