‘Going Deeper’ - The Invisible Hurdles Stage III Research Evaluation Final Report, Centre for Rights & Justice, Nottingham Law School & Curran Consulting: Enhancing Justice & Human Rights
138 Pages Posted: 20 Jul 2022 Last revised: 14 Oct 2022
Date Written: June 26, 2022
This is research into the Invisible Hurdles Program and its impact and effectiveness in delivering services to young people at risk of family violence. It involves four partners from different disciplines (health, education and family & community services and law) working holistically together to improve outcomes for young people who often have little voice. Its target is to reach young people who experience multiple, often cascading problems to see if legal help when easily accessed can make a difference in their lives.
The study evaluates the impact multidisciplinary program :the four partner agencies: the Hume Riverina Legal Service, Wodonga Flexible Learning Centre, Northeast Support and Action for Youth Inc., and Albury Wodonga Aboriginal Health Service have all been keen to engage in reflective practice and learn how they can work together to provide holistic, client- centred and culturally respectful practice. The research also explores what works for young people and uses Dr Curran's benchmarks to measure impact including: engagement, capacity & capability, confidence, empowerment, collaboration and reach.
It seems fitting, to no longer describe the Invisible Hurdles initiative as a ‘project’, as it has now been operating since 2015. For this reason, in this report, the third research evaluation report for the program, entitled, ‘Going Deeper’ -The Invisible Hurdles Stage III Research and Evaluation Final Report (2022) i’.
This has been a seven year study and is now one of the longest independent empirical studies into a legal assistance program in Australia. This report is the third report in seven years and has enabled some longer term comparisons as the program now can enable impacts over time to be measured, a rare thing in many service studies.
The connections between the Invisible Hurdles Program and the agencies are vital to the communities they serve. Without the program, many Aboriginal young people would experience reduced access to justice, the gaps would grow even wider, and many young people would continue to experience the complications of their ongoing, complex legal problems. This leads to poor social determinant of health outcomes, as evidenced in the data and case studies in this report. However, integrated and multidisciplinary practice when done well, can change lives and have a positive impact.
The report is detailed and explains the methodology, provides some of the data collected, the analysis, findings and recommendations that go beyond this specific program to shape and inform replicable models and that should be of value to funders and policy & decision-makers in service delivery across disciplines.
Keywords: Access to Justice, Multidisciplinary practice, Interdisciplinary, Health Justice Partnership, Impact Research Evaluation, Effective Legal Services, Community Development, Legal Empowerment, Law and Policy, Social Determinants of Health, Integrated Legal Practice, Engagement, Collaboration
JEL Classification: K39, K49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation