Sora - a female name from South Sudan, meaning revolution.
SORA - a revolution in global awareness. A revolution of knowledge
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The Sudanese Online Research Association welcomes contributions of essays,
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Analysis of the legal needs of Horn of Africa people in Melbourne, Australia By Sally Aplin
|This report was generously supported by the Blake Dawson Waldron Pro Bono Fellowship 2001.
Click here to download the full text, printable version
The task of adapting systems to suit our ever changing ethnic mix does not have to be an overwhelming if it is approached from the perspective of finding 'fits' between existing services and systems and the needs of the emerging community. This project focuses upon collaborations and service efficiencies that could be of potential benefit in creating a more comprehensive response to the legal needs of Horn of African communities in Melbourne. The basic principles underlying such a system will have relevance for a variety of emerging communities, especially those whose representatives display issues in common with Horn of African communities.
In particular, the characteristics common to Horn of African communities which have the greatest ramifications for the manner in which we provide community legal services for their communities are:
This report looks at ways in which the unique characteristics and needs of Horn of Africa communities can be reconciled with the Australian legal system. In particular, emphasis is placed on the role cross-cultural training can play to better inform workers with African clients as to their clients' needs. Ways in which the Horn of Africa communities can also be informed about available legal services, their rights and responsibilities are also investigated.
Also covered are the types of legal needs experienced by the communities, where these needs differ from those of the overall population. Typically, there will be a clear link between the characteristics in dot points above and a special legal need of the community. For example, due to widespread illiteracy, many Africans may be unaware that Community Legal Centres can provide free services.
In conclusion, it is hoped that this study will play a dual role. Firstly, as a document to inspire further thought on ways in which our community legal services could be adapted to better assist the changing demographic of our cultural and linguistically diverse society and, secondly, as a document that may be of assistance to Horn of African communities in explaining their unique requirements to government agencies.
This report focuses specifically upon issues of good practice in provision of culturally appropriate legal services by Community Legal Centres in Melbourne. For the purposes of this study, the Horn of Africa was chosen as a case study, being a prominent emerging community. The Horn of Africa community faces manifold difficulties in obtaining equitable access to justice and this report explores both the causes of estrangement from the workings of the legal system and also focuses upon some of the innovative initiatives currently being undertaken to better ensure access to all branches of the legal system for Horn of Africans. Finally, recommendations are made as to how Community Legal Centres could better tailor their services to meet the diversity of cultural needs in their neighbourhoods. Instances of good practice in the provision of culturally appropriate legal services are highlighted to illustrate the potential of innovative service provision.
**The full text of this thesis will be available on SORA soon. Urgent requests for the full-text version should be sent by email to the SORA editors**