Video phones give legal lifeline to isolated communities

It is now easier for some people in remote and regional areas of Tasmania to get access to legal advice and help.

video-phones-give-legal-lifeline-to-isolated-communities photo 1 Photo: People in remote areas have difficulties with phone coverage and internet access, Susie Winter says. (ABC News: Janek Frankowski)

It is now easier for some people in remote and regional areas of Tasmania to get access to legal advice and help.

The Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania has set up video telephones in neighbourhood houses and health centres in New Norfolk, Nubeena and Geeveston.

Legal Aid's Susie Winter said the new service was designed to expand access to legal advice.

"It's designed to take our services to where they're needed, into clients in their own community and locations that are more accessible," she said.

"It's sometimes difficult for people to access our services from remote and regional areas."

Ms Winter said while Legal Aid had an informative website and a 1300 number advice line, people in some areas still faced issues with internet access, phone coverage and transport.

People would be able to have face-to-face appointments with Legal Aid lawyers via the video telephones.

They would sit in a private room and talk to a lawyer on a phone in a similar way to Skype or FaceTime.

Legal Aid plans to install the phones at 11 more locations around the state, including Flinders Island and King Island.

"It means that they can contact us first, quickly and easily and we can talk to them about what their legal issue might be," Ms Winter said.

"People may not have access to their own transport either, so it is really important to be able to take our service to them rather than them having to come to our service."

The other sites will be set up over the next six months.

Ms Winter said early intervention could prevent issues becoming more serious.

The video telephone service will compliment Legal Aid's four main offices in Hobart, Launceston, Devonport and Burnie.

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Article Video phones give legal lifeline to isolated communities compiled by www.abc.net.au

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