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. .To date, we have provided more than $547k in pro bono services. The program is unfunded and we continue to fundraise to keep it going. Please support our work to represent and advocate the most vulnerable in the community who have no other options to seek justice.
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. In our experience, many migrants, refugees and people seeking asylum have complex legal problems which further compound their social disadvantage. These include:
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.
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.
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 three 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 process navigation, legal advice, representation and a range of advocacy supports. 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 dealt 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.
WWG uses a social impact framework to measure outputs and outcomes to improve health and wellbeing and health equity for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
health justice services in 2020 – 2021
across all programs in 2020 – 2021
across all programs in 2020 – 2021
in 123 physical education sessions during 2020 – 2021
fundraising and donations received in 2020 – 2021
of clients were from CALD backgrounds in 2020 – 2021
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