Services and programs

Where to go and who to contact for support with justice and disability needs in Victoria.

Boxes, arrows, lines, and drawings of a lightbulb and house

Support directories

Ask Izzy

Directory of local services for crisis support needs including housing, food, physical and mental health, emergency funds, counselling, legal support, drug and alcohol issues, and education and work.

Clickability

Searchable directory of NDIS disability service providers, including support for daily living and access, therapy and assessment, recreation and leisure, learning and jobs, planning advocacy and navigation, and assistive technology and other solutions.

 

Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations

Aboriginal Community Controlled Services provide culturally safe services to Aboriginal people in Victoria.

These services have expert knowledge of the service providers available to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria.

Community health and mental health services

Local Aboriginal Health Services

Services offered

Hubs of services available to Aboriginal people, including:

  • GPs
  • community mental health services
  • drug and alcohol services
  • housing co-operatives (in some locations).

The Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (VACCHO) is the peak body and has a list of service providers on their website.

Drug and alcohol services

Ngwala Willumbong

(03) 9510 6288
9am to 5pm, Monday to Thursday, and 9am to 4pm on Fridays.

Services offered

  • Aboriginal Community Controlled alcohol or drug residential rehabilitation services

Drug and alcohol services are also provided through Community health and mental health services (see above). 

Housing services

Local Aboriginal Health Services and Co-operatives often provide regional or local housing services. To find out whether the local Health Service provides housing services, use the VACCHO website to find the local Health Service. 

Aboriginal Housing Victoria

(03) 9403 2100

8.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday

Services offered

  • Culturally safe housing services
  • Appropriate, affordable housing for Aboriginal Victorians

Legal services

Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service (VALS)

1800 064 865
24-hour custody notification and pre-interview advice
Reception and legal service: 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday

Services offered

  • Culturally safe family, criminal and civil law advice and representation to eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with legal matters in Victoria


Djirra – Family Violence Prevention Legal Service

Freecall 1800 105 303

Services offered


  • Culturally safe legal services and support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women or women with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who have experienced or are currently experiencing family violence

Support for completion of community corrections orders

Wulgunggo Ngalu

03 5188 0003

Services offered

  • A Gippsland-based 'learning place' for Indigenous men undertaking Community Correction Orders
  • Accepts participants from across Victoria
  • A joint initiative of the Victorian Government and the Indigenous community located at the former Won Wron Prison site in Gippsland

Court dates and assistance

Related pages

Prepare for court

Court dates

Each jurisdiction has its own way you can search for court listing dates. Most lists are available for public access.

Magistrates’ Court of Victoria

Children’s Court of Victoria

  • Call (03) 8638 3300 to check court listing dates
  • Court dates for matters in the Children’s Court are not published online for public access

County Court of Victoria

Finding your way around court

Court Network

  • Available at most courts
  • Ask any court staff member where to find Court Network volunteers
  • Court Network volunteers wear pink lanyards 

Services offered

  • Finding your way around the court
  • Support if you are feeling overwhelmed
  • Showing you where to access other support services, including the duty lawyer service
  • Sitting with you in court

Disability rights advocates

Amaze

(03) 9657 1600
Autism Information Advisor Service 1300 308 699
9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday

Services offered

  • Policy and systemic advocacy for people with ASD
  • Information and resources for people with ASD and their supporters
  • Peak body for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their supporters in Victoria

Disability Advocacy Resource Unit (DARU)

Freecall 1800 808 126
(03) 9474 0077
9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday

Services offered

  • Advocacy support for people who have ongoing support needs as a result of a disability
  • Focuses on working with the person with a disability and supporting their needs, rights and interests to address and resolve issues they identify
  • Independently run and free to access

Disability Justice Australia

Freecall 1800 808 126
(03) 9474 0077
National Relay Service options: 1800 808 126

Services offered

  • Funded through the National Disability Advocacy Program (NDAP) to provide NDIS advocacy in metropolitan Melbourne
  • Individual, legal and systemic advocacy for people with a disability

Disability Services Commissioner

Complaints 1800 677 342

TTY 1300 726 563
National Relay Service: 1800 677 342
8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday

Services offered

  • Resolves complaints and promoting the right of people with a disability to be free from abuse
  • Work with disability service providers to improve outcomes for people with a disability

Victorian Advocacy League for Individuals with Disability (VALID)

03 9416 4003
NDIS hotline 1800 655 570
9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday

Services offered

  • Peak organisation in the Victorian disability sector representing adults with intellectual disability and their families
  • Systemic and individual advocacy for people with a disability, including training and self-advocacy programs

Disability support services

Support services in the criminal justice system

DHHS Forensic Disability Program

1300 390 709
ForensicDisability.Access@dhhs.vic.gov.au
9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday

Services offered

  • Disability Forensic Assessment and Treatment Service (DFATS)
  • Disability Justice Coordination
  • Specialist Forensic Disability Accommodation (SFDA)

For more information, see Access support services.

Court Integrated Services Program (CISP)

See: CISP referral form.

Check availability and contact numbers on the CISP website.

Services offered

  • Aims to reduce the likelihood of people re-offending by supporting clients on bail before the Victorian Magistrates’ Court to access relevant support services. This includes disability and mental health services and crisis and support accommodation
  • Case management support, usually for four months or up until sentencing or finalisation of a person’s criminal law matter

Youth Justice Court Advice Service (YJCAS)

Contact the court you are required to attend for the contact number of your local Youth Justice office.

Services offered

  • Case management and supervision to young people (under 21) with matters in adult criminal jurisdictions
  • Bail supervision to young people at risk of a custodial sentence

Other disability support services

NDIS

For information on accessing disability support services see accessing the NDIS.

See also:

Drug and alcohol support services

DirectLine

1800 888 236
24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Services offered

  • Confidential alcohol and drug counselling
  • Assessment and referral service to available drug and alcohol services in local areas, including residential rehabilitation options

If you need help with a drug or alcohol issue you can also speak with your GP.

Family violence, victim and witness services

Get help immediately

1800 RESPECT (Australia) 1800 737 732
Men’s Referral Service 1300 766 491
Sexual Assault Crisis Line (Victoria) 1800 806 292
Victims of Crime Helpline 1800 819 817

Family violence

Orange Door

Services offered

  • Access and referral to a range of family violence and family services
  • Postcode finder to locate family violence service providers in the local area

Sexual violence

Centres Against Sexual Assault (CASA)

Refer to the website to find a centre close to you.

Services offered

  • Support and intervention to women, children and men who are victim/survivors of sexual assault

Victims of crime

Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT)

Services offered

  • Financial assistance to (eligible) victims of crime committed in Victoria, to assist victims in their recovery

Victims of Crime Helpline

Freecall 1800 819 817
Text 0427 767 891
8am to 11pm, every day

Services offered

  • Advice about reporting a crime
  • Information about the court process
  • Help applying for compensation and financial assistance
  • Referral to other services that can help

Witness support

Child Witness Service

1300 790 540
9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday

Services offered

  • Available to child witnesses in any circumstance where a child needs to give evidence in court
  • Provides information and support to children and their families during the court process
  • Staffed by social workers and psychologists

Victorian intermediaries pilot program

Intermediaries are skilled communication specialists who assist vulnerable witnesses to give evidence. Intermediaries are neutral and are officers of the court.

There is currently a pilot program in Victoria that allows a court to order an intermediary in certain circumstances.

Services offered

  • Can assist witnesses who are children or have a cognitive impairment
  • Assist with witness communication
  • Assist the witness to give evidence to police and in court

Both the prosecution and the defence can apply for an intermediary to be appointed.

If you think that you might be eligible for an intermediary, speak to the prosecutor or police officer who is handling your case.

Witness Assistance Service

Freecall 1800 641 927
9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday

Services offered

  • Available to witnesses where the Office of Public Prosecutions (OPP) are the prosecuting agency
  • Supports at and around court for victims and witnesses of serious crime through the court process
  • Access to specialised social workers

Housing providers

If you are homeless or at risk of homelessness

Victorian Statewide Homelessness Line 1800 825 955 – call to be connected to a housing worker who can help you find available accommodation in your local area

Ask Izzy - find housing and accommodation near you

arbias housing service

(03) 8388 1222
9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday

Services offered

  • Offers individuals with an acquired brain injury (ABI) the opportunity to live in supported, semi-supported and independent-living accommodation options throughout metropolitan Melbourne
  • Through partnerships with affordable housing organisations such as Unison and Housing Choices Australia, arbias offers individuals a range of short and long-term accommodation options.

DHHS Forensic Disability Program

1300 390 709 

ForensicDisability.Access@dhhs.vic.gov.au
9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday

Services offered

  • The Disability Forensic Assessment and Treatment Service (DFATS) is a statewide disability forensic service. It provides assessment, treatment, support and residential services for people with intellectual and cognitive disabilities who display high risk anti-social behaviour, and who are involved, or at risk of being involved, in the criminal justice system.
  • Specialist Forensic Disability Accommodation (SFDA) is a network of 12 residential services under the Disability Act 2006, accommodating people requiring forensic disability supports who are subject to civil and criminal orders in the community. In addition, SFDA accommodates people with a cognitive disability who have served orders but pose a risk to community safety and continue to need support.
  • DFATS and Specialist Forensic Disability Accommodation can be accessed through the Forensic Disability Statewide Access Service (FDSAS).

Launch Housing – Justice Housing Support Program (JHSP)

(03) 9288 9647
9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday

Services offered

  • Finding housing for people leaving the justice system

Referrals to the JHSP are made through CISP (see Access support services) or ARC (see Specialist courts) referrals.

Housing support through the NDIS

If you have disability-specific housing needs, an NDIS package may be able to provide housing supports in some circumstances.

Find out how to Access the NDIS.

Interpreting and communication services

Related pages

Prepare for court

Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS)

131 450

  • Call the TIS if you need an interpreter to contact a court.
  • Tell the TIS operator the phone number of the court you need to contact.
  • The court phone number is on your court paperwork.
  • An interpreter will call the court and translate to make sure you understand the information you need.

National Relay Service (NRS)

TTY: call 133 677
Speak and listen: call 1300 555 727
Give the phone number of the court you need to contact.

  • Call the NRS if you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment and need to contact a court.
  • The court phone number is on your court paperwork.

Related pages

Get legal advice

Need a lawyer in court?

Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) provides a duty lawyer service for people who do not have a lawyer when they arrive at court.

  • The duty lawyer can help you on the day if you don’t have a lawyer there with you.
  • When you get to court, tell the court registrar that you would like to speak to the duty lawyer.
  • Duty lawyer services are subject to eligibility criteria

Facing eviction or homelessness?

Homeless Law 1800 606 313 or the Tenants Union 9416 2577 – call if you or your client:

  • received a Notice to Vacate
  • has a VCAT hearing
  • is otherwise facing eviction into homelessness.

Criminal law services

Victoria Legal Aid (VLA)

1300 792 387
(03) 9269 0234
8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday

Services offered

For more information see Get legal advice or visit the VLA website.

Federation of Community Legal Centres (CLCs)

1300 792 387
9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday

Services offered

  • Referral service to free local Community Legal Centres (CLCs)
  • Legal assistance for people with criminal matters that are not eligible for VLA funding
  • Legal assistance for fines
  • Advice on intervention orders
  • Assistance for victims of crime

Financial means tests and residential area limitations may apply depending on the referral Community Legal Centre

Law Institute of Victoria (LIV)

(03) 9607 9311
9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday

Services offered

  • Referral service to connect people with lawyers who are Accredited Criminal Law Specialists

Disability-specific legal services

Villamanta Disability Rights Legal Service

Freecall for legal advice: 1800 014 111
1pm to 3pm, Monday to Friday

All other calls: (03) 5227 3338
9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday

TTY users call: 133 677 Ask for (03) 5227 3338

Services offered

  • Legal assistance and advice for people with legal matters associated to or arising from their disability
  • Free telephone information, advice and referral service
  • Assistance with NDIS matters and appeals

Mental Health Legal Centre

Legal Advice (night service) (03) 9629 4422 or 1800 555 887
6pm to 8pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays

Freecall: 1800 555 887
Phone: (03) 9629 4422
9am to 5pm, Tuesday to Friday

Services offered:

  • Provides legal service to anyone who has experienced mental illness in Victoria, where their legal problem relates to their mental illness
  • Legal advice night service on Tuesdays and Thursdays

Other specialist legal services

Homeless Law

1800 606 313
9.30am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm, Monday to Friday

Services offered

  • Free legal assistance for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness with legal matters connected to their housing situation
  • Assistance to people who are ineligible for other legal aid

Legal matters that Homeless Law can assist with include

  • Housing and tenancy, including preventing evictions
  • Fines and infringements connected to homelessness
  • Guardianship and administration orders where a court makes orders for someone to look after a person’s financial affairs or assets
  • Credit and debt problems
  • Some criminal law matters

Law and Advocacy Centre for Women (LACW)

(03) 9448 8930
9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday

Services offered

  • Legal representation and case management to women and gender diverse people already in, or at risk of entering, the criminal justice system
  • Specialist criminal law representation Legal assistance with fines Assistance for victims of crime
  • Fee-for-service, legal aid or limited pro bono assistance based on financial means

Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service (VALS)

1800 064 865
24-hour custody notification and pre-interview advice
Reception and legal service: 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday

Services offered 

  • Culturally safe family, criminal and civil law advice and representation to eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders with legal matters in Victoria
  • Grants of legal assistance – a financial means test applies

Youth Law

(03) 9113 9500
9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday

Services offered

  • Free legal service for young people under 25 years
  • Legal assistance and advice for public transport fines, driving fines and charges, infringement fines where mental health and homelessness are risk factors, some Criminal charges, police complaints, civil and family law matters.

Mental health support services

Get immediate help

Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
Lifeline 13 11 14
Suicide Callback Service 1300 659 467

Mental Health Community Support Services

A number of organisations have funding to provide community-based psychosocial support to people in the community experiencing mental ill-health.

Funding for community mental health services is distributed regionally. The Ask Izzy directory can connect you with nearby mental health services, or you can speak with your GP or designated Mental Health Service.

Services offered

  • Psychosocial support to people aged 16–64
  • Support for those who are not otherwise eligible forthe NDIS, depending on the provider
  • Services and funding vary by region

Psychiatric triage service

1300 874 243

24 hours a day, 7 days a week

If you are having a mental health emergency, you can go to your local Emergency Department or contact your designated Mental Health Service to be connected to a psychiatrist.

Be aware that the Mental Health Act 2014 gives psychiatrists the power to make decisions about treatment.

Even if a psychiatrist has decided that you need to be hospitalised, you still have legal rights. This self-help tool developed by the Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA) Service helps you learn your rights and find solutions to some of the most common issues in the mental health system.

For questions about the Mental Health Act 2014 or to know the legal rights of compulsory patients contact:

Psychologists

If you are looking for a psychologist, you should speak to your GP for a referral and a Mental Health Care Plan (MHCP).

MHCPs are covered by the Medicare Benefits Schedule and give access to bulk-billed psychological services.

NDIS assistance

The NDIS can be complex. There are different people who can help depending on what type of issue you are experiencing.

NDIS service providers and support coordinators in your local area

Questions about applying for the NDIS and NDIS plans

To start an application to access the NDIS, first look at the Applying to Access the NDIS guide.

If you have questions about your NDIS plan contact your Local Area Coordinator (LAC). The LAC coordinate NDIS services in your area.

Appealing plans or access decisions

If you have an internal review of an NDIA decision coming up, or an appeal at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) you should get assistance from a lawyer or disability advocate. You can do this by contacting one of the agencies who are funded through the National Disability Advocacy Program (NDAP).

The Department of Social Services website has a list of NDAP service providers.

You could also consider requesting help from legal services.

Complaints about an NDIS service provider

NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission

Freecall 1800 035 544
9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday

  • The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Quality and Safeguards Commission is an independent agency which manages complaints about NDIS service providers.
  • Complaints can be made over the phone or through the Commission’s website.

Questions about the transition to the NDIS

For information on the programs that have been funded by DHHS to support the transition to the NDIS in Victoria - refer to the NDIS transition support and resources webpage.

Complex system issues or crises

If you have an immediate and urgent need of services, or a family member or client who is eligible for NDIS but who is unable to activate their NDIS plan for urgent housing or support services because they are in custody, contact the following services for assistance:

Related pages

Access the NDIS

Specialist courts

Assessment Referral Court (ARC)

ARC may be available to people diagnosed with one or more of the following:

  • Acquired brain injury
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Intellectual disability
  • Mental illness
  • Neurological impairment, including but not limited to dementia

ARC is available at the following Magistrates' Courts: 

To apply for a referral to an ARC, complete the ARC referral form and contact the relevant ARC coordinator.

Read Access specialist courts for more ARC information and eligibility criteria.

Drug Court

Accused people are eligible for the Drug Court if they are:

  • pleading guilty to offence(s) capable of being heard in the Magistrates’ Court
  • in a Drug Court catchment area
  • dependent on drugs and/or alcohol and this contributed to their offending
  • facing an immediate term of imprisonment two years or less
  • facing charges that are not sexual offences and do not involve the infliction of actual bodily harm unless minor in nature
  • not subject to a parole order or sentencing order by the County or Supreme Court.

A lawyer can seek a Drug Court screening hearing for their client by contacting the Drug Court registries at either:

Read Access specialist courts for more Drug Court information and eligibility criteria.

Koori Court

Koori Court is available at these Magistrates’ Court locations:

The Children’s Koori Court is also available at these locations:

  • Bairnsdale
  • Dandenong
  • Geelong
  • Hamilton
  • Heidelberg
  • Latrobe Valley (Morwell)
  • Melbourne
  • Mildura
  • Portland
  • Shepparton
  • Swan Hill
  • Warrnambool

To apply for the Koori Court, a legal representative must complete a Koori Court certificate of readiness.

To access the County Koori Court contact the County Koori Court coordinator.

Read Access specialist courts for more Koori Court information and eligibility criteria.

Neighbourhood Justice Centre (NJC)

(03) 9948 8777
9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday

  • The only community justice centre in Victoria
  • Provides integrated services to people facing criminal charges to address the underlying reasons for their contact with the criminal justice system
  • People who live in the City of Yarra are eligible to have their Magistrates’ Court matters heard at the NJC and access the court’s services

Read Access specialist courts for more NJC information and eligibility criteria.

Specialist reports

arbias

(03) 8388 1222

Services offered

  • Neuropsychological testing for ABI

Amaze

(03) 9657 1600
Autism Information Advisor Service: 1300 308 699
9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday

Services offered

  • Information to support someone seeking an ASD diagnosis
  • Peak body for ASD in Victoria with information and resources for people with ASD and their supporters

Australian Psychological Society

Freecall 1800 333 497
(03) 8662 3300
8.45am to 5.15pm, Monday to Friday

Services offered

  • Directory of psychologists

Neuropsychological Assessment Need Tool

  • can help you determine the need for a neuropsychological assessment

Victorian Dual Disability Service (VDDS)

(03) 9231 1988

Services offered

  • Information and assistance on getting specialist reports in circumstances of dual disability

Supporting Justice

Supporting Justice © Centre for Innovative Justice, RMIT University, 2019

Questions or feedback: contact@supportingjustice.net

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners on whose land we meet, share and work. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and extend our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from all nations of this land.