Staff

  • Chief Executive Officer – Wayne Muir
  • Deputy Chief Executive Officer – Annette Vickery
  • Chief Financial Officer – Sam Firouzian
  • Executive Officer, Management Support – Jacqueline Morris
  • Administration Officer – Simon Huang, Doug Smith

 

Client Service Officer (CSO)
(Head Office: 3 positions, Regions: 7)

The Client Service Officer (CSO) is a unique role that no other legal service provides in Victoria. It is the aim of the CSO to work with community members to assist and support them as they are processed through the criminal justice system.

CSOs are members of the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. CSOs often work on the weekend, public holidays and get called in the middle of the night. They also do Prison Support Work as a part of their role at VALS.

Manager, Community Justice Programs based at the Preston head office:

  • Peter Rotumah

 

Coordinator, Community Justice Programs based at the Preston head office:

  • Kathryn Morris

 

Metro CSOs:

  • Gary Bamblett
  • Jane Britten
  • Jaime Carter-Maggs

 

Regional CSOs:

  • Lyn Morgan (Bairnsdale)
  • Danny Ilsley (Ballarat)
  • Sue Lovett  (Heywood)
  • Andrew Arden (Mildura)
  • Naomi Murphy (Morwell)
  • Brad Boon (Shepparton)
  • Cain Chaplin (Swan Hill)

Contact information for the regional areas can be found here.

CSOs provide:

  • Outreach and support;
  • Initial information;
  • Minor assistance (e.g. helping with phone calls or letters, advocacy to other services);
  • Case planning in conjunction with other service providers;
  • Community liaison;
  • Referral;
    Sit in on interviews with solicitors; and
  • Attend court.

 

Community Legal Education (CLE)
The Community Legal Education Program focusses on providing legal information to Victorian Aboriginal communities on topics those communities identify as priorities for them. Our program is intended to support and empower individuals to access legal services and supports available to them across a range of issues, and to be confident they understand their rights and responsibilities under the law.

  • Community Legal Education Officer – Loretta O’Neill

 

Legal Practice
The area is managed by our acting Principal Legal Officer, Chelsea Candy

 

Civil Law
Principal Legal Officer – Patrick Warner

Civil Law Practitioners

  • Nick Boyd-Caine
  • Sophia Blosfeld (part time)
  • Kirrilli Ryland (part time)

The civil law paralegal is: * Lee-Anne Carter

 

Criminal Law

Principal Legal Officer – Martin Doyle

Senior Practitioners:

  • Ali Besiroglu
  • Natasha Vanderheyden

Criminal Law Practitioners

  • Kin Leong
  • Michael McKenna
  • Peter Sublet
  • Damien Pitts
  • Christina Cussen
  • Jamie McConnachie
  • Tieea Jaya

The criminal law para-legal is:

 

Family Law
Senior Practitioners * Bree Solomon

Family Law Practitioners

  • Leah Tolley (secondment)
  • Kirrilli Ryland (part time)

The family law paralegal is: * Patrick Govey

Legal Secretaries

  • Latoya Baker
  • Rebecca Shein
  • Vinnie Galati
  • Kalinda Kwan
  • Sarah-Jo Watt-Linnett

 

Local Justice Worker Program
VALS employs Local Justice Workers in the Northern and Western Metro regions. Local Justice Workers assist people on community based dispositions from the Court to complete their orders. They work with Corrections Victoria to develop culturally responsive work programs, and liaise between Courts, Corrections and Police to support community members. They also assist with Sheriff’s Office matters, and can support community members in making payment arrangements, liaising with the Sheriff’s Office regarding outstanding fines and refer people for special circumstances applications, where appropriate.

  • Northern Metro – Robert Miller
  • Northern Metro – Luke Edwards
  • Western Metro – Gene Roberts

 

Post Release Support Program
The Post Release Support Worker supports people released from prison. Support work can be provided for up to six months. The Post Release Support Worker supports the person in accessing services which will assist in resolving issues regarding housing, employment, education and training, family and community connectedness, alcohol and drugs, mental health and living skills.

 

Royal Commission Inquiry into Institutional Responses to Childhood Sexual Abuse
VALS employs a Royal Commission Senior Case Manager is funded by the Commonwealth Attorney- General Office for the life of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (‘Royal Commission Inquiry’)

The Australian Government has established a Royal Commission to hear about sexual abuse that happened to children in an institution. Examples of institutions include: • Schools • Church • Camps, Scouts and Guides • Swimming clubs and other recreational clubs • Out of Home Care, including foster care, kinship care and adoption • Children’s homes

The Royal Commission will investigate sexual abuse perpetrated by people who worked in institutions. This might include: • A worker • Foster carer • Member of a club • Someone who provides services to the institution • Any other person connected to the institution

The Royal Commission can hear stories about all institutions where child sexual abuse took place, including those that have been shut down.

The purpose of this role is to support people in a range of ways to either contact the Royal Commission Inquiry directly, obtain legal advice and support and access service supports such as CASA or VAHS. The role may involve some case management, but is essentially seen as a co-ordinating referral point within VALS.

  • Royal Commission Senior Case Manager – Alister McKeich