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Current Goal

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Health Justice Program Funding

Goal: $100,000

Our Health Justice Program provides legal advocacy to vulnerable people who have legal problems impacting negatively on their mental and physical health. In 2018-19 our unfunded work totaled $409,000 and over half was in the Health Justice Program.

 

 

Many immigrants, refugees and people seeking asylum have complex legal problems which further compound their social disadvantage such as complicated and protracted visa determination processes, family and domestic violence related legal processes, employment related issues including exploitation, under-payment and injury, fines and licencing issues, victims of crime and navigating the criminal justice system. Support this program and be part of delivering #healthequityjustice

Health Justice

World Wellness Group runs a small internal health justice program with support from pro bono lawyers for clients whose health is significantly impacted by legal problems.

Our Health Justice Program is another way where we deliver #healthequityjustice

 

Health Justice works to achieve positive health and justice outcomes via legal advocacy. Health Justice clients have legal problems impacting negatively on their mental and physical health. In 2018-19 our total unfunded work totaled $409,000 and over half was in the Health Justice Program.

Many everyday problems that people experience in areas such as housing, finance (including debt and fines), social security, consumer interactions and family arrangements can have legal elements and solutions.[i]

Why we need a Health Justice Program

International research for more than two decades has documented the health harming effects of unmet legal needs. There is growing evidence of links between law and health demonstrating that social and economic problems with a legal dimension can exacerbate or create ill-health and that conversely, ill-health can create legal problems.[ii] 

 

Barriers to justice is often due to people receiving poor information, employer intimidation, lack of access to legal counsel, language barriers, and unfamiliarity with procedures. Many disadvantaged migrants and refugees with language and cultural barriers avoid seeking legal assistance, and fall through the gaps in the system as they do not have the legal literacy or understanding of the system to navigate it successfully. 

Our pro-active social health model addresses the social determinants of health which create adverse health outcomes such as housing, employment, legal, family violence, discrimination, language and cultural barriers in an embedded wraparound model of care. Evidence shows that the health of migrants and refugees are socially determined to a greater extent than the Australia-born population and working within a human rights-based framework we have a strong focus on advocacy and social justice for our clients.

Our Health Justice work 

In our experience, legal problems and lack of access to justice is a key determinant for our clients, with many having complex legal matters compounding their existing social disadvantage. Via pro bono legal assistance from two lawyers working at our clinic, the legal case work undertaken to date has demonstrated the large positive impact that can be achieved by helping our clients understand the legal matters confronting them and by advocacy and facilitating access to further legal expertise, when needed. This is within a framework of wrap-around health and mental health support. Work undertaken to date highlights that it is impossible to provide legal assistance in isolation of wraparound support.

 

We assist our clients in various ways ranging from support letters, individual advocacy and explanation of the law. We can also assist with representation via our network of pro bono lawyers and barristers. Most of our work involves interpreters and support workers to help provide access to justice.

Our program has deals with:

Our success factors have been attributed to:

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed social inequality and the socio-economic adversity experienced by many of our clients. The intersection between health and legal issues is now more important than ever.

[1] Health Justice Australia, Legal Help as Mental Health Care, health justice insights paper, Sept 2020

[1] Genn, H, “When Law is Good for Your Health: Mitigating the Social Determinants of Health through Access to Justice”, Current Legal Problems, Vol 72, Issue 1, 2019

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