The one who got away

June 12, 2017 by J-Wire Staff
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Melbourne’s Gillian Layton has been added to the list of Jewish recipients honoured in the Queen’s birthday awards. She received an OAM and has taken the list to twenty-four and with now four women honourees.

Gillian LAYTON, Melbourne Vic 3004

Gillian Layton

For service to children and families in the legal system.

Service includes:

Court Networker, Melbourne Family Law Court, since 1999.

Court Networker, Children’s Court, Victoria, since 1999.

Gillian Layton told J-Wire: I have been working as a volunteer for Court Network for over 18 years, in the Family and Children’s Courts.

My role as a networker is to support people who are self-represented. They often don’t come with anyone else and, for many, it’s the first time they’ve had any involvement in the court system.

For many, it’s quite a daunting and stressful experience. The surroundings and the whole process can be intimidating. Most are not familiar with the court system, and what to do and not to do.

My role is threefold:

Firstly, it’s to make them feel a bit more comfortable and to reduce their stress levels.

Secondly, it’s explaining what’s going on and to answer any of their questions.

And thirdly, try to get them to see their case more objectively, and less emotionally.

It’s important to try to get them to advance their case. To get it settled quickly and fairly.

I try to bring a level of compassion, empathy and kindness. It helps develop trust and it really makes a huge difference.

Gillian also works at Melbourne’s Bialik College’s Early Centre using the Reggio Emilia approach to early learning. It operates on the premise that early childhood education is the combined job of the parents, teachers, and community.

She added: “This award this an incredible honour that I wouldn’t have imagined come my way. It has been very rewarding for me to be able to be able to help people who are very much in need and who really appreciate the support.

I planned to be a Court Networker when it was first founded by Carmel Benjamin some 25 years ago. A few years late, the time came when I was available to join the volunteers. I hope to continue for many more years to come.

I am very passionate about what I do.”


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