Health-Justice Partnerships

Women’s Legal Service NSW has been providing holistic services for our clients in collaboration with Women’s Health Centres for over 20 years.

We share responsibility for appointments and recordkeeping, training and community education, operate under Memoranda of Understanding and participate in each others’ strategic planning and events.

For the rest of the world this concept seems to be a recent discovery, but one which we welcome.

Research on health-justice partnerships

Part of the impetus for wider recognition of health justice partnerships came from research in the US which demonstrated that addressing a people’s legal needs appropriately can assist in improving their health.

Then the Law and Justice Foundation did some research which revealed that most people with a legal problem do not ask a lawyer. They do nothing, ask family or friends, or ask their doctor.

This alerted us to the importance of engaging with doctors in general practice to assist them to identify legal issues associated with domestic violence, sexual assault and family breakdown, to respond appropriately and make informed referrals.

Our GP Toolkit

To this end we (with the assistance of a grant from the Law and Justice Foundation) developed the GP toolkit.

Then the NSW Branch of the Australian Medical Association got an interest in domestic violence issues, launched and promoted the toolkit, liking it so much they now refer to it as ‘their’ toolkit.

Versions are now being produced in other states and territories, and nationally.

Our Partnership with AMA

Most recently we were pleased to partner with the AMA in launching a suite of domestic violence awareness initiatives, including engaging with hospital social workers and accident and emergency staff, the Royal Australian College of GPs, reproductive health professionals and midwives.

We are really excited to be spreading our message through these very significant points of contact for many of the most disadvantaged women.

This will enhance our capacity to reach those who would not have identified a legal issue or found our services otherwise.

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Rosie Batty, Helen Campbell and Rebecca Ebel at the AMA Gala Dinner 23 October 2015

Health-Justice Partnership network

We are also participating in a network of Health Justice Partnership agencies, enabling us to stay connected with and aware of the wide variety of models of collaborative and integrated services that are new to many practitioners.

We are pleased to be at the forefront of this evolving form of service delivery.

 

 

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