Health justice partnerships have been emerging across Australia since 2012, as a highly innovative model of collaboration between health and human services. They bring lawyers into the hospital and community health services that people trust, to stop legal problems from harming people’s health. These legal problems may include family violence and elder abuse; inadequate public housing driving up respiratory problems; accumulation of fines and debt causing anxiety; and access to superannuation or custody planning on the diagnosis of a serious illness. There are now over 20 health justice partnerships across the country, with 6 in Queensland alone.
Health justice partnerships present an opportunity to:
- improve the health and legal outcomes of people experiencing disadvantage;
- work collaboratively across policy or program ‘siloes’ to better meet the needs of people who may be vulnerable in the community; and
- leverage existing programs in new settings to engage with a broader or different range of clients with health and legal problems.
QCOSS was delighted to be involved in hosting a conversation in conjunction with Health Justice Australia and Community Legal Centres Queensland around health justice partnerships – what’s happening in this space throughout Queensland and Australia and exploring opportunities to build further health justice partnerships to meet the needs of people impacted by poverty and disadvantage as well as shared interests in further policy advocacy.