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Sustaining Health Justice Partnerships: Learning from the experience of the Integrated Services for Survivor Advocacy partnership

The Integrated Services for Survivor Advocacy (ISSA) is a health justice partnership between South-East Monash Legal Service (SMLS) and the South Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault and Family Violence (SECASA). SMLS solicitors work closely with SECASA counsellors to provide legal advice, assistance and representation to victim-survivors of sexual assault, non-offending family members and any other person affected by the assault other than the offender. The partnership supports clients to navigate the justice system, particularly for financial assistance provided through Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT) and provides help for a range of other legal issues such as fines. The ISSA partnership has been running for 28 years and is one of the longest running health justice partnerships in Australia, in a context where the sustainability of partnerships is a key challenge to the model. Many health justice partnerships are still funded as though they are pilots or via year-on-year grants which undermine their ability to sustain the partnership. Much of the foundational activity of a partnership (e.g. developing relationships and coordination) is rarely funded at all. The aim of this small-scale exploratory study is to explore with those involved:

  • what ‘value’ or ‘outcomes’ look like to the clients, as well health and legal partner staff
    of a long-term health justice partnership
  • what indicators are being used (formally or informally) to determine if these outcomes
    are being achieved
  • what factors they identify as contributing to these outcomes
  • what they feel has helped sustain this long-term partnership.

Click here to read the full report.

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