The WEstjustice and Werribee Mercy Hospital partnership was first established in 2016. The legal department is a critical entry point for early intervention advice on domestic violence to maternity patients, as well as providing education and targeted advice on legal matters such as family law, fines, debt. , and rental advice.
WEstjustice will use the $50,000 to build the capacity of the existing service and develop its child protection attorneys, to Better equip the service to connect women earlier with targeted support services. The grant will also support Werribee’s continuing education Mercy Hospital employees to help them identify domestic violence and related legal issues, and how they can refer people to services.
WEstjustice legal director Cleona Feuerring said the safe and secure environment of a maternity ward and hospital was a unique opportunity to provide education, advice and support to women who would otherwise not feel may not be comfortable or able to seek it out.
“Pregnancy and the birth of a child can increase the risk of domestic violence for some women. For many women referred to WEstjustice through our partnership, it is the best way to access legal and social support without compromising their safety,” she said.
“We understand the important intersection between domestic violence, family law, child protection and criminal law, especially to reach victim survivors as early as possible to help them achieve positive outcomes in the life, not just legal results.”
Mercy Health – Chief Health Services Officer Professor Jason Payne said Werribee Mercy Hospital is located in one of the fastest growing local government areas in the state. We give birth to over 3,700 babies every year and care for thousands of mothers in our maternity ward, some of whom are experiencing or at risk of domestic violence. Partnering with WEstjustice allows us to support these women and their children at a very vulnerable time.”
He added: “We congratulate WEstjustice on this well-deserved award and look forward to further strengthening this partnership to support families in West Melbourne.”
Chairman of the Clayton Utz Foundation, Marcus Davenportsaid Clayton Utz was proud to help build capacity in the HJP sector.
WEstjustice is an example of a health justice partnership that has a tangible and positive impact through its services. We congratulate them on being the first recipient of our award.
The Clayton Utz Foundation
The Clayton Utz Foundation created the award in consultation with Health Justice Australia recognizing the continued need for financial support to continue growing the HJP landscape – and honoring the Foundation’s milestone of $1 million in funding over the past 10 years to help mainstream the HJP model in Australia.