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Health Justice Partnerships

Legal Aid NSW has established a number of health justice partnerships with health and welfare agencies. These collaborations provide on-site legal assistance to vulnerable people in health-related settings including hospitals, community health centres and health outreach services in public housing estates. They attempt to reach people who are at most disadvantage in the justice system.  Research by the Law and Justice Foundation demonstrates strong links between long-term illness/disability and legal need.

For further information about Legal Aid NSW Health Justice Partnerships, please contact Andrew Taylor (Civil law HJPs) or Ruth Pilkinton (Family Law HJPs).

See also Health Justice Australia, the National Centre for Health Justice Partnerships.

Legal Aid NSW Health Justice Partnerships:

  • Western Sydney Local Health Service - Legal Aid NSW partners with Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) by providing an on-site family lawyer at Bankstown Hospital each Tuesday. Our family lawyer works closely with social workers, the antenatal health clinic, Aboriginal and CALD Liaison Officers and other professionals to reach people connected to the hospital through their work or as a support person for a patient at the hospital who need help with family, care and protection or family violence legal issues. The Family Lawyer works collaboratively with Legal Aid lawyers from Criminal and Civil Law who also provide legal advice and assistance to people accessing the Drug Health Clinic at Blacktown to receive their daily dose of methadone. The Legal Aid Work and Development Order Service provides support for the patients accessing Drug Health and more broadly across the WSLHD with fines debt.
  • Bungee Bidgel Aboriginal Health Clinic, Hornsby Hospital - Legal Aid NSW partners with the Northern Sydney Local Health District Aboriginal Health Service to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients with weekly civil and fortnightly family law advice services at Hornsby Hospital GP Unit.
  • Central Coast Mental Health project, Legal Health = Mental Health - Legal Aid NSW partners with Central Coast Local Health District, Mental Health Service along with the Central Coast Community Legal Centre to provide monthly advice clinics to inpatient and community clients covering civil and criminal legal issues for patients.
  • Sydney Children's Hospital at Randwick and Royal Hospital for Women - Legal Aid SNW partners with the hospitals to deliver weekly family law advice clinics for women, children and their families.
  • HealthOne, Sutherland Hospital - Legal Aid NSW partners with the Sutherland Hospital to deliver weekly civil law advice services to for patients of Sutherland Hospital, and people with complex health needs or chronic illness living at home.

Integrated service hubs

Legal Aid NSW is also joined with fur integrated service hubs where health, legal and social services are embedded in program design.

  • Greenway Housing Estate, North Sydney initially started by the Greenway Tenants Group, funded by FaCS housing, and managed by Mission Australia, is a collaborative service aimed at providing support for residents and access for residents to services. The Wellbeing Centre is located within the Greenway Social Housing Estate, where Legal Aid NSW delivers fortnightly civil law services for residents.
  • Northcott, Surry Hills is a collaboration between Legal Aid NSW, FaCS, South East Sydney Local Health District, NSW Police, Department of Premier and Cabinet, City of Sydney, St Vincent Hospital that commenced in 2017.
  • RedLink, Redfern Housing Estate is a collaboration with Legal Aid NSW and Redfern Legal Centre, along with FaCS, the Sydney local Health District, City of Sydney and over a dozen local service providers, to deliver weekly civil law advice services for residents of the Redfern community.

Aniela's story

Our client was 26 weeks pregnant with her fourth child. She had a long history of domestic and family violence and substance abuse issues. Her three older children were in the care of the Minister in two different family placements, and Aniela’s arrangements for seeing the children were causing her concerns. We assisted her to improve contact with her older children and worked with her hospital social workers to put in place appropriate referrals to services to help Aniela with counselling, parenting courses, housing and drug treatment.

We advised Family and Community Services (FACS) of the way Aniela was addressing their concerns and reinforced how her earlier life experience had affected her parenting capacity. While FACS took Aniela’s baby into care soon after the child’s birth, she still has regular contact with her baby for breast feeding and bonding and there is a plan for the baby to be restored to her care.

A lawyer represented Aniela at court and obtained letters from the hospital social workers to support her court case.