Wuchopperen Health Service is a large Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander community-controlled service offering holistic health and wellbeing services to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities of the Cairns region.
Through a partnership between Wuchopperen and LawRight Inc, visiting lawyers provide free legal advice, referral and ongoing casework to vulnerable Wuchopperen clients by appointment each week. Many of these clients would not otherwise access legal assistance to address their various civil legal needs including debt, domestic violence, tenancy and victim of crime assistance.
Underpinning the success of the clinic is the involvement of Indigenous lawyers, both from LawRight and its pro bono partners.
The evidence is clear that health needs and legal needs often overlap. Legal advocacy can improve social conditions which impact on people’s health. ‘Virtually all legal needs (ranging from housing to domestic violence) are directly or proximally connected to health status.’ (Zuckerman, Sandel, Lawton, & Morton, ‘Medical-legal partnerships: transforming healthcare’, The Lancet, 8 November 2008; 372(9650): 1615).
Funding for the Wuchopperen Legal Clinic has been provided by temporary Commonwealth community legal centre funding.
The Wuchopperen Legal Clinic operates weekly at Wuchopperen Health Service at 6 Moignard St, Manoora, Queensland.
Wuchopperen clients can book an appointment with the legal clinic by contacting Wuchopperen on (07) 4080 1000.