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Launch of the Health Justice Partnership for Youth

15 July 2015

The Health Justice Partnership for Youth, a program delivering an integrated health justice service for young people in the Central Highlands, was officially launched at Ballarat Community Health on 3 July 2015.

Guest speakers at the event included Dr Marie Bismark of Melbourne School of Global Health, Ms Susan Ball, Grants Manager at Victorian Legal Services Board, and Ms Ariel Couchman, Director, Youth Law. The speakers engaged the large audience - drawn from the health, community and legal services sectors - with compelling insights to support this innovative program.

The Health Justice Partnership for Youth is a collaboration between Federation University Australia’s Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation (CeRDI), Ballarat Community Health and Central Highlands Community Legal Centre. It has been funded by a major grant from the Victorian Legal Services Board.

The program will deliver an integrated medical and legal service with a lawyer from Central Highlands Community Legal Services based across all sites at Ballarat Community Health. The program will provide early intervention for legal and health issues to improve the outcomes for disadvantaged young people experiencing multiple health and legal issues. 

Facilitating early intervention and raising awareness of the health and legal issues for the region’s youth is  a key objective of the program, as commented by Dr Margaret Camilleri, CeRDI researcher for the project:  ‘Many young people experience a range of legal problems across civil, criminal and family law areas. These are frequently related to physical and mental health issues. The Health Justice Partnership for Youth is designed to increase awareness of the available legal assistance for local young people within the community health setting.’

It is anticipated that co-locating services at a convenient, trusted, and safe environment at Ballarat Community Health will facilitate the early identification and management of legal issues for young clients. The program is also expected to enhance agency staff knowledge and skills development in understanding and responding to the legal issues of young people.

Research will be conducted alongside this project to gauge the impacts and outcomes of the program. The research will provide further understanding about health justice partnerships within the Australian context and offer new insights to support the delivery of ongoing services for at-risk youth in our region.

For further information about this project, please contact the lead researcher Dr Margaret Camilleri, Email: m.camilleri@federation.edu.au; Telephone: (03) 5327 6947.

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