The LIVING FREE project aims to improve service system responses to young girls and women with multiple and complex needs that underutilise voluntary health and community services.
In particular, young girls reported missing has been identified as group at particular risk of an offending trajectory into the criminal justice system.
Developed in partnership with Stepping Up Consortium, Taskforce Community Agency, Victoria Police, Peninsula Community Legal Centre and Youth Support and Advocacy Service (YSAS), LIVING FREE provides both assertive outreach and intensive case management support to better connect and coordinate service responses; and systemic advocacy and capacity building activity to improve knowledge and enhance service sector responses across the continuum.
Initially established through funding awarded under the Victorian Legal Services Board Grants Program, the initiative now encompasses a Health Justice Community of Practice that provides a platform for high level collaboration amongst 30+ organisations working to identify local needs and advocate for required responses.
Introduction of LIVING FREE has been well received across the health and social services sector, with newly established referral pathways, improved interagency service coordination, adoption of more flexible intake and assessment processes, and more gender sensitive program and service delivery.