An inspiring short documentary about lawyer Vincent Shin, who practises in a Melbourne school, premiered in Brunswick last night.
The 10-minute film, titled The School Lawyer Project, looks into how the project addresses the family violence epidemic at the coalface. Twenty eight-year-old Shin is the only lawyer in Australia to be employed by a school full time, helping students facing a range of social and financial issues.
A victim of family violence himself, Shin, a clear favourite of the students, appears casually dressed and talks about the intimate details of his abusive upbringing, what inspired him to assist kids from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
“I hope that I can inspire some of the kids at my school to really be tenacious with life,” Shin told Australasian Lawyer.
“I feel like having my story out there and what I’m doing including my personal story hopefully will encourage conversation about expanding the School Lawyer Project.”
With the Royal Commission into Family Violence just wrapping up and the Victorian Government pledging $500m in addressing the issue, the documentary is timely. Shin said he’s in very early talks with Victorian Legal Aid which may look to expand the program.
“Speaking out about this will hopefully keep the conversation going for this disgusting social issue to just disappear,” he said.
“I feel like it’s a good step forward in terms of tackling family violence to have people who are out there sharing their own intimate stories.”
One of the biggest misconceptions is that victims are from low socio-economic backgrounds, but this isn’t always the case and the perception needs to change, Shin said.
“Inevitably it’s going to be uncovering a lot of family violence issues if there are more school lawyers,” Shin said.
“And the hope is, keeping this conversation going about this school lawyer project and family violence will hopefully encourage other legal centres and other schools to look into a School Lawyer Project.”
Last night’s premiere included a panel discussion with AFL star Jimmy Bartel and commissioner for children and young people Liana Buchanan, who both recently spoke publically about their own experiences with family violence.
Watch the full PLGRM documentary below: