Innovative Partnership Aims to Revolutionize Women’s Health and Legal Services in Western Australia

Women’s health and wellbeing are complex, encompassing not just physical, but also emotional, and at times, legal needs. Recognizing this intricate web of issues, Goldfields Women’s Health Care Centre has embarked on an exciting new partnership. Teaming up with the Women’s Legal Service WA (WLSWA) and Women’s Health and Family Services in Northbridge, the initiative aims to revolutionize the way services are delivered to women, particularly those affected by family and domestic violence.

Family and domestic violence, sadly, bring about a myriad of health, legal, and social support requirements. Addressing these necessitates a multifaceted, comprehensive approach. While most women's health centers already incorporate wrap-around services, legal aid is often limited to referrals or outreach clinics. This innovative initiative, however, goes a step further – embedding specialist women's legal services within health centers, creating a seamless, integrated care pathway.

Pioneering such a holistic approach is no small feat. It represents a substantial shift in how these integral services are provided, but it's a strategy anticipated to significantly improve outcomes for women. By making these services readily available, early intervention can become the norm, creating a cost-effective and efficient solution to a long-standing issue.

Gloria Moyle, CEO of Goldfields Women’s Health Care Centre, is hopeful about the outcomes. She believes that the initiative will "reduce the impact of legal issues on women’s health and wellbeing by providing timely legal assistance." Moyle also highlighted the immense potential for "two-way learning opportunities for both women’s health service employees and women’s lawyers."

Echoing Moyle's enthusiasm, Dr. Jennie Gray, CEO of WLSWA, is confident that "this initiative will improve access to justice and safety for women who can face significant barriers to addressing legal issues." Many women, she noted, delay seeking help due to factors like a limited understanding of their legal needs, lack of knowledge about available legal services, or social and cultural isolation. By embedding legal services within health centers, the partnership aims to dismantle these barriers.

The novel initiative will be independently evaluated by the Centre for Women’s Safety and Wellbeing, with funding provided as a pilot by the WA Department of Health. If successful, this could potentially set a new standard for holistic care, enabling more women to access the legal and health support they need, exactly when they need it.

About the Partners: Women’s Legal Service WA is a specialist gender-specific community legal center, providing trauma-informed services to financially disadvantaged women in Western Australia, prioritizing those who have experienced or are currently dealing with family violence. Goldfields Women’s Health Care Centre is a not-for-profit health center, offering a variety of services – from clinical to alternative therapies, health information, well-being support, and professional referrals – tailored specifically for women in the Kalgoorlie Goldfields region.

This game-changing initiative is a testament to the power of collaborative partnerships, signaling a hopeful future where no woman has to navigate her health and legal challenges alone. As more organizations continue to explore similar models, it's possible to imagine a future where women's health and wellbeing are truly holistic concepts, with services designed to meet every need.