Justice Connect has established several health justice partnerships (HJPs) in Victoria and NSW to help older people experiencing elder abuse and other legal issues.
Health Justice Partnerships are when a lawyer is embedded in a healthcare setting to reach out to people who may need legal help and not know it.
Many people view legal problems as life problems. They may not be able to afford a lawyer, or they may not know they need a lawyer in the first place. Instead, they’re more likely to talk to someone they trust, like their doctor, nurse, or physio.
By training healthcare professionals to identify potential legal risks or issues, we can empower them to refer clients to free legal help. Getting the right legal help at the right time has positive benefits for the entire community, as well as great health and well-being outcomes for our clients.
In Victoria, we partner with cohealth, a community health centre in Melbourne’s north-west, and with St Vincent’s Hospital. In NSW, we partner with St Vincent’s Health Network Sydney, incorporating St Joseph’s Hospital, a sub-acute hospital in Sydney’s west, and St Vincent’s Hospital in Darlinghurst.
We also partnered with Caulfield Hospital, Alfred Health to deliver a 12-month pilot Health Justice Partnership in 2017.
By incorporating a lawyer into a health care team, the partners aim to improve legal and health outcomes for older clients by:
The HJP Toolkit has been created as a general guide to lawyers, health and welfare practitioners interested in setting up an HJP. The HJP Toolkit introduces the concept and provides a step-by-step guide for establishing an HJP, drawing upon recent Australian experiences.
We’ve included case studies as practical examples for each step. We’ve also included contact details to open conversations between those in the early stages of starting an HJP and those who have implemented a partnership.
The best way to understand our impact is to hear from the people we help.