Building a case for systems change
The evidence is clear that people often experience multiple, intersecting health and legal problems.
By contrast, services are designed and funded in a way that treats these clustering problems as discrete and unrelated. As a result, people with complex needs can be poorly served by existing services.
We identify and tackle the structural barriers in policy, funding, and service system design that add to the complexity of issues people face and ultimately undermine the effectiveness of service responses.
The current state
People experiencing multiple, intersecting problems that cross the boundaries of normal health, legal and other services can struggle to find the help they need.
Siloed policy and funding settings, and specialist practitioner approaches, can make it difficult for services to respond effectively to this complexity in people’s lives. They may even add to the problem.
In these cases, problems go unaddressed until people reach crisis point.
Where we're heading
Health Justice Australia is working to improve the way services and systems respond to complex need that affects people’s health and wellbeing.
Health justice partnership demonstrates how this can be achieved, by leveraging the existing capacity of Australia’s health, legal assistance and other services and supporting them to work better together around multiple, intersecting health and legal issues.
Health Justice Australia enhances this systemic impact by identifying the lessons from health justice partnership and using them to drive improvements in the design, funding and delivery of the service system.
Integrating legal help for improved mental healthcare
We aim to create the environment where health policy makers and funders recognise the value of legal assistance as part of holistic, integrated approaches for mental health care.
Specific elements of this work include our advocacy to include legal help in the Adult Mental Health Centres pilot funded by the Australian Government and being implemented primarily through Primary Health Networks over the next five years.
Supporting people experiencing family violence
Reshaping system responses to complex problems like family violence is a key priority for Health Justice Australia.
Our understanding is supported by evidence of the high level of legal need among people experiencing family and domestic violence and the range of legal issues experienced; evidence about health issues being experienced by women affected by family and domestic violence and that of the barriers women can face in accessing support and safely disclosing violence, and health services as a key access point.
Through this focus, we work to influence the design of systems away from siloed service models that assume a single-vantage point, towards a holistic and multidisciplinary understanding of complex problems and their solutions.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have long recognised the multiple, intersecting factors that support or act as barriers to health and justice in their lives.
Health justice partnership is an approach that supports and is supported by the holistic models already demonstrated by many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and services. As an organisation committed to self-determination among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia, reflected in our board’s endorsement of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, our prioritisation of health and justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities ‘lives’ those values and ensures they are not simply symbolic.
What we do
We’re connecting the evidence, expertise and experiences of a diverse range of professionals, researchers and communities to explore partnership to address inequities in health and justice.
We work to build the confidence, skills and readiness of health and justice practitioners, advocates and leaders to work together towards better outcomes for their patients and clients.