Health Justice Australia commenced with an ambitious research agenda – to understand the place and value of health justice partnership as a tool to address the intersecting health and legal issues that can underpin health and justice inequity. That of course remains an ongoing project, with critical foundations laid and progress made.
- established the field of health justice in Australia, defining the landscape and services on it
- identified the differences that HJPs seek to make, and for whom, recognising HJP as both a health and legal assistance strategy to respond to intersecting need
- built trust in our ability to produce useful, relevant and easy to use knowledge across research and practice
- formed interdisciplinary research partnerships to explore the integration of legal help into various health settings.
In our strategy for new knowledge we plan to continue making connections across networks and disciplines, bringing together existing forms of knowledge to learn new insights and partnering in research. We will harness and translate knowledge to inform and evolve health and justice practice and outcomes.
We want to continue to create space for inter-disciplinary dialogue and shared learning. This includes through our events (e.g. our national conference), cross-disciplinary relationships and our commitment to partnering on strategic research initiatives (e.g. Centre for Research Excellence into Childhood Adversity and Mental Health; NHMRC-funded Centre for Research Excellence in Health Equity).
Over the next five years, we aim to take deeper dives into the value of HJP from different perspectives and in different contexts: in and with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and services, in mental health, and family and domestic violence.
Supporting community engagement in improved health and justice outcomes will be a core focus for Health Justice Australia. This approach is driven by evidence which identifies that the more communities are in control of their health and have the capability to access their legal rights, the better their health and legal outcomes, and overall wellbeing. We will support the recognition of different forms of expertise including that of personal or lived experience, alongside that of professionals, researchers, policy-makers and others, in areas such as outcomes measurement as well as in our commitment to new knowledge more broadly.
We aim to continue to implement the shared health justice partnership outcomes framework, developing tools to capture indicators across the health justice partnership network. We will work with health justice services, researchers and funders to test, implement and improve these tools to build the capability for improved measurement and evaluation in the health justice landscape. We will continue to refine the way we measure our own impact as well.
And finally, we are building the infrastructure to ensure the learning of us and our partners is accessible through a knowledge hub hosted by Health Justice Australia. This will gather and translate academic evidence, practice evidence and experience to inform policy, practice and future learning.
As you can see, the agenda remains ambitious and can only be progressed in partnership. We warmly invite your thoughts on our direction and welcome your participation in the work.