Law Yarn and the Wuchopperen Health Justice Partnership

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What is Law Yarn?

Law Yarn is a unique resource that supports good health outcomes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Law Yarn helps health workers to yarn with members of remote and urban communities about their legal problems and connect them to legal help.

Legal problems with money, housing, crime and families will lead to poor health if they are not resolved.

Without Law Yarn the problems won’t be identified and will instead be ignored. This turns them into bigger problems.

About the Wuchopperen Health Justice Partnership

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, 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 Health Justice Partnership at Wuchopperen has been provided by temporary Commonwealth community legal centre funding.

About the Wuchopperen Health Justice Partnership

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, 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 Health Justice Partnership at Wuchopperen has been provided by temporary Commonwealth community legal centre funding.

Launch

Law Yarn was officially launched in Cairns on 30 May 2018 by the Queensland Attorney-General, The Honourable Yvette D’Ath at Wuchopperen Health Service as a Reconciliation Week Event.

Law Yarn was also presented at LawRight’s Public Interest Address in Brisbane on 9 August 2018. At the event, Uncle Des Sandy welcomed attendees to his country, Mr Mick Gooda presented a thoughtful, optimistic and challenging speech, and Donnella Mills explained the development of the Law Yarn with her community.

Fiona Allison, Research Fellow at the Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research based at the University of Technology, Sydney completed an 18 month evaluation of this unique Health Justice Partnership aimed at improving health and justice outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

The health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their communities has been significantly and uniquely improved by LawRight’s partnership with Wuchopperen Health Service in Cairns.

‘Your Law Yarn’ artwork was created by Riki Salam, WeAre27 Creative, Copyright 2018.

For more details about Law Yarn, please contact Sue Garlick, LawRight Joint Director at sue.garlick@lawright.org.au.

Supporting Law Yarn

Workers use the Law Yarn to help their clients recognise their legal issues and get legal help.

You can sponsor a Law Yarn bag for a health or community worker.

As a thank you gift you will receive:

  • $20 donation – a Law Yarn tea towel
  • $30 donation – a Law Yarn canvas bag
  • $50 donation – three Law Yarn tea towels

You can make a donation at lawright.org.au/donate – select Law Yarn as the appeal.

If you make a donation, we will contact you to arrange collection or delivery of your gift.

Thank you to everyone who has sponsored a Law Yarn resource for a worker.


Pro bono referral

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Homelessness and at-risk services


Health Justice Partnerships

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Mental Health

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Application forms