Community-specific legal needs
LGBTIQ communities can have particular legal issues relating to their identities, including: discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, blood-borne virus status or lawful sexual activity.
It is unlawful for you to be discriminated against on the basis of personal attributes like disability, HIV status, race, sexual orientation or gender identity in areas of life such as employment or healthcare. Sexual harassment is also prohibited. If you believe you have been discriminated against or sexually harassed, we can give you advice about your options on where to lodge your complaint, and can provide representation in some cases.
Name, gender and ID changes
In order to change your name you must apply to the Births, Deaths and Marriages in the state or territory you were born. From there, you need to contact all of the government agencies and businesses and organisations that you are connected with in order for them to update your details. If you need help changing your name and/or gender marker, we can help you complete the paperwork and advocate for you if organisations refuse to update your ID.
Health and Privacy complaints
If you believe your private health information has been compromised, or if you have been subjected to poor treatment in hospital or when accessing a mental health service on the grounds of your LGBTIQ status, we can provide advice and advocacy in relation to this.
Expungement of Historic Convictions
Victorians can now apply to expunge historical convictions for homosexual activity that would not be a criminal offence today. We can provide information about the scheme and help people to lodge an application for expungement.
Everyday legal needs
Some members of the LGBTIQ community also face additional barriers to accessing justice due to stigma and discrimination, trauma, poverty or lack of trust in mainstream legal services.
Fines and debt
A fine is an amount of money that you may have to pay if you are believed to have broken certain laws, such as going through a toll road without an etag. Fines can pile up if they aren’t dealt with. If you were homeless, were experiencing a significant mental health condition, addiction issues or family violence at the time of the offence, we may be able to assist you by applying to have them withdrawn on the grounds of special circumstances.
Many members of the LGBTIQ community are living in poverty on Newstart. If you disagree with a decision that Centrelink has made, such as a decision to apply a debt or refuse a Disability Support Pension application, you can ask a Centrelink authorised review officer to review the decision. If you disagree with the outcome of the review, we can help you apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for this decision to be reviewed.
People with disabilities may experience legal problems including National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) rejections, guardianship and administration applications or discrimination based on their disability. We can provide you with legal advice and in some cases representation with these issues.
Family violence and intervention orders (IVOs)
A family violence intervention order protects people from other family members who are using family violence. Family members can include intimate partners, domestic partners, parents and children, as well as carers or guardians. The LGBTIQ Legal Service can provide you with advice and in some cases court representation.
If the Police believe that you have committed a crime, they can charge you and require you to attend court. If you’ve been charged, we can provide advice and court representation on a case by case basis.
If you have received a notice to vacate, having issues with your landlord such as repairs issues or breaches of your privacy, we can help you enforce your rights at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
If you have been a victim or a witness to police misconduct in Victoria, you are entitled to make a complaint. We can provide you with advice and assistance with drafting your police complaint, or helping you obtain information under Freedom of Information laws.