Health Justice Australia
Bringing community legal services into health settings to improve support for the disadvantaged.
Did you know, millions of Australians have legal problems they’re more likely to raise with a trusted health professional than a lawyer? Health justice partnerships bring community legal services into health settings to improve support for the disadvantaged. Health Justice Australia supports these partnerships via the setup, scaling and effectiveness through research and evaluation, practitioner resources and policy advocacy.
Funds raised: $28,500
HJA pitched at TFN Brisbane on 14 June 2017 and raised $28,500 to help fill the gaps in services that the most vulnerable people fall through. The funding will enable them to develop resources that drive best practice among health justice partnerships (HJPs), such as guidance on information-sharing in cases of family violence, and balancing the professional-client privilege of lawyers with the mandatory reporting obligations of health workers in child protection. This innovative new service model supports some of the most disadvantaged communities in Australia, helping health and legal services to support them.
Some visits to the GP or the hospital can be complicated and require more than just medical attention. For women experiencing domestic violence, a doctor can only treat the injuries and are unable to provide legal assistance in order to stopping the injuries from occurring in the first place. Medical and legal aid work separately from each other, despite the fact their scope is overlapped and their goals are usually aligned. This often leads to people ‘falling through the cracks’ and continuing a tragic cycle.
Most people who require legal support don’t access it, yet are more likely to talk to their GP or a health provider about it. This is the gap that Tessa from Health Justice Australia is trying to fill. At TFN Live in Brisbane she pitched for funding to produce and formalise a framework for medical and legal professionals to work together and bridge the gap in services. Her vision was to create a resource kit and online portal that catered for collaboration and encouraged partnerships. This online portal is now live, thanks to the generosity of the TFN community - the Health Justice Partnership Practitioner Network was launched in April 2018 and has already attracted over 80 health and legal practitioners. So far, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
“[The MOU Resource Kit] encourages each partner to articulate shared goals, especially if they are not undertaking an evaluation…this is a great way of making sure all on the same page!” - Service Manager, Melbourne
“I think it includes a good amount of information…I would recommend this resource” - Lawyer, Sydney
“I think [the MOU Resource Kit] looks terrific. It is clear and straightforward…I think it would be user friendly in the NT context… I would love to use it/a modified version of it as part of our resource pack” - Lawyer, Northern Territory
Read their Impact Report