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 pro-active social health model addresses the social determinants of housing, employment, legal, family violence, discrimination, language and cultural barriers impacting adversely on our clients in an embedded wraparound model of care. The evidence base shows that the health of migrants and refugees is socially determined to a greater extent than the Australian born population and working within a human rights-based framework we have a strong focus on advocacy and social justice for our clients.

 

We have found that 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 for our clients by helping them to 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 support in relation to their health and mental health issues. 

Barriers to access to justice is often due to people receiving poor information, employer intimidation, lack of access to legal counsel, language barriers, and unfamiliarity with procedures.

 

Our program aims to provide legal advice, advocacy and support for our clients who have legal related issues which subsequently impact on their health. We assist with advocacy in relation issues such as:

We aim to assist our clients in various ways ranging from support letters, advocacy explanation of the law. Most of our work involves interpreters and support workers to help provide access to justice.

 

Work undertaken to date in our health justice program highlights that it is impossible to provide legal assistance in isolation of wraparound support as many disadvantaged migrants and refugees with language and cultural barriers not only rarely seek legal assistance but fall through the gaps in the system as they do not have the legal literacy or understanding of the system to navigate it successfully. Interpreters and multicultural peer support workers are essential adjuncts to service delivery but the most important elements are staff with cross cultural competence and trauma informed practice expertise and an organisational environment that pro-actively supports staff to work collaboratively with other services.

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