Health service and legal centre join to offer Therapeutic Justice Partnership

MDHS will now provide legal services thanks to a partnership with LCCLC.

A double-barrelled approach to health and legal assistance will see the Maryborough District Health Service (MDHS) partner with the Loddon Campaspe Community Legal Centre (LCCLC) to help clients and patients alike receive the help they need.

The Therapeutic Justice Partnership’s (TJP) aim is to provide vulnerable people with the chance to seek both legal and health assistance in the one place.

The TJP has a particular focus on clients who have complex health needs including mental health, housing, and drug and alcohol related issues who, at the moment, rely largely on limited duty lawyer services at the Maryborough Magistrates’ Court.

LCCLC community lawyer Robert Southgate said the partnership allows legal staff to gain access to those who may be reluctant to reach out for legal help.

“It’s seldom that we have a client who isn’t heightened by the court process so to be able to bring them out of that context and into the health service helps us deal with the matters at hand,” he said.

“We’re pleased to be able to borrow the trust that people have with MDHS. It paves the way for us to be able to solve legal issues which is a real positive.

“Often health care professionals have a trusted relationship with their patients. An individual may not want to go see a lawyer, but they may disclose legal issues to a nurse or a doctor and it means that if a lawyer is nearby, then they can introduce them and it might make people feel a bit more comfortable about accessing legal help.”

MDHS therapeutic justice social worker Tanya Miles said MDHS can be a more comfortable setting, compared to the courthouse, for people to seek help.

“The people we’re hoping to support are generally in the MDHS building for other reasons and the reality is people are more comfortable in the health service,” she said.

For more on this story see the Front Page of The Advertiser, Friday, April 12

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