An­other lawyer joins In­vis­i­ble Hur­dles team

Wangaratta Chronicle - - News -

A NEW fam­ily vi­o­lence lawyer has joined the In­vis­i­ble Hur­dles project in Wan­garatta to help pro­vide le­gal ad­vice to vul­ner­a­ble young peo­ple.

In­vis­i­ble Hur­dles is a health-jus­tice part­ner­ship be­tween sup­port ser­vices in the North East, such as Hume Rive­rina Com­mu­nity Le­gal Ser­vice (HRCLS) and North East Sup­port and Ac­tion for Youth (NESAY).

Wan­garatta’s new In­vis­i­ble Hur­dles lawyer, An­drea Ge­or­giou, said she was par­tic­u­larly ex­cited to work with dis­ad­van­taged youth in our ru­ral city.

“I love learn­ing about the lan­guage and na­ture of how young peo­ple com­mu­ni­cate,” Ms Ge­or­giou told the Wan­garatta Chron­i­cle.

“When this po­si­tion came up, I jumped at the op­por­tu­nity to work with young peo­ple and break down the hur­dles they face in ac­cess­ing le­gal help.”

Ms Ge­or­giou said one of the chal­lenges about pro­vid­ing free le­gal ad­vice to young peo­ple was find­ing new ways to ex­plain the law and “de­mys­tify the le­gal sys­tem”.

“It’s about chang­ing the lan­guage and bring­ing it down to a level they un­der­stand,” she said.

“You don’t want them leav­ing here more con­fused than when they walked in, so it’s im­por­tant to make it ac­ces­si­ble.”

NESAY se­nior prac­ti­tioner for com­mu­nity en­gage­ment, Sue Watts, said drug use was a grow­ing prob­lem among young peo­ple.

“Drug use is huge at the minute, and not just in Wan­garatta - it’s ev­ery­where,” she said.

“Fam­ily vi­o­lence, do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, un­em­ploy­ment, poor men­tal health, drugs, you name it, and it’s all linked.

“It’s been awe­some hav­ing An­drea on board be­cause it’s very dif­fi­cult for young peo­ple to seek the help they need.

“The kids are much more re­laxed and they’re able to take in what’s be­ing said, so hav­ing that sup­port has been won­der­ful.”

Ms Ge­or­giou said the govern­ment-funded In­vis­i­ble Hur­dles pro­gram is due to end in June 2018.

“We’re hop­ing to find some fund­ing from other sources,” she said.

PHOTO: Sa­man­tha Dick

HELP IS HERE: Wan­garatta’s new In­vis­i­ble Hur­dles fam­ily vi­o­lence lawyer, An­drea Ge­or­giou (pic­tured, from left), pro­vides le­gal ad­vice to young peo­ple with the sup­port of NESAY’s Sue Watts and Joy Ware.

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