Townsville Community Legal Service Inc
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Who are Community Workers?

Community workers are those who provide direct or indirect services to or for the benefit of members of the community. Some are paid, some are unpaid. We don't discriminate between paid and unpaid community workers other than where a necessary distinction needs to be made because of differences in law or policy. For example, the issue surrounding legal liability for actions of paid community workers differs for those engaged in purely unpaid or volunteer work.

As an example, community legal centres provide direct client services through a mixed model of employed staff (lawyers, social workers and paralegals), volunteer lawyers (usually at evening advice sessions) and other volunteers (committee members, students). Therefore, the volunteer at an evening advice session is engaging in community work even though they are employed elsewhere, perhaps in private legal practice. Likewise, individuals who voluntarily staff telephone-counselling lines are engaging in community work.


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Different definitions of community work
Characteristics which help to define community workers or the way they work or practise may include a combination of one or more of the following:


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Qualifications
Community workers have many and varied qualifications. Qualifications includes all relevant qualifications from secondary and tertiary education...


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Experience
Community workers are often defined by their experience in a particular field, regardless of whether they have formal qualifications. Experience...


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Position description or employment conditions
Community workers are often described by their position or job description, for example:


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Membership
Community workers can sometimes be described to some extent by their membership of a particular organisation. These organisations range from unions,...