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How W+K’s pro bono and community partners are providing support to the most vulnerable during COVID-19

In acknowledgement of Law Week 2020, Wotton + Kearney is highlighting the important work that our pro bono and community partners are doing to address the needs of clients during the COVID-19 pandemic. In our series of four case studies below we focus on seniors rights, homelessness, domestic violence and refugees. W+K’s Community Footprint program has long focused on providing pro bono and community support across these areas in Australia.

Heidi Nash-Smith, Pro Bono Partner at W+K, comments: “Whether it’s providing critical legal advice to refugees and people seeking asylum over the phone or video conference or making kindness calls to women who have experienced domestic violence and are feeling isolated, W+K lawyers have adapted to the innovative service delivery methods its community partners have developed to continue helping people. The impacts of COVID-19 have hit hardest for the disadvantaged and vulnerable groups assisted by our community partners”.

  • Clients of the Seniors Rights Service are obviously more susceptible to the health impacts of COVID-19 due to their age. However lawyers have also been advocating to ensure that older people have access to health care during the pandemic according to an ethical framework and not simply de-priotised when the health system is faced with the choice between older and younger patients.
  • Refuges and boarding houses, which normally provide services to people who are homeless, have needed to reduce the numbers of people they can assist to comply with social distancing requirements. At the same time, the number of people at risk of homelessness has significantly increased with the surge in unemployment and other drivers of homelessness like domestic violence.
  • Social isolation measures to stop the spread of the virus have also created the conditions for domestic violence to increase, with victims unable to access the social networks and services they would normally turn to for help.
  • Refugees, people seeking asylum and other temporary visa holders have been completely excluded from government income support and most do not even have access to Medicare during this health crisis.

“W+K is proud to provide pro bono support to organisations on the frontlines of COVID-19 response to those most vulnerable to its impact in our community. However, as the demand is at unprecedented levels, more help is needed and we want to encourage others to contribute”, said Nash-Smith.

To read the full case studies and how you can help those impacted by the crisis, click on the links below.


Case studies and how we can help

Seniors rights and COVID-19 – DOWNLOAD HERE

Homelessness and COVID-19 – DOWNLOAD HERE

Domestic Violence and COVID-19 – DOWNLOAD HERE

Refugees and people seeking asylum and COVID-19 – DOWNLOAD HERE


For more information on our Community Footprint Programme and the legal services W+K can provide, please contact Heidi Nash-Smith.

© Wotton + Kearney 2020
This publication is intended to provide commentary and general information. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this publication. Persons listed may not be admitted in all states and territories.
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