Women, Legal Aid and Social Inclusion

By Hunter, Rosemary; De Simone, Tracey | Australian Journal of Social Issues, Summer 2009 | Go to article overview

Women, Legal Aid and Social Inclusion


Hunter, Rosemary, De Simone, Tracey, Australian Journal of Social Issues


Introduction

The Australian government's social inclusion agenda envisages a state in which all Australians 'feel valued and have the opportunity to participate fully in the life of our society' (www.socialinclusion.gov.au). One of the key differences between discourses of 'poverty', 'disadvantage' and 'deprivation' and those of 'social exclusion' is that the latter adopt a dynamic analysis, focusing not just on access to material resources but on 'the social relations of power and control, the processes of marginalisation and exclusion' (Hague et al. 2001: 73). Thus, social inclusion necessarily requires a shift in or reversal of these power relations and marginalisation processes.

According to the government's policy, achieving the vision of a socially inclusive society means that: all Australians will have the resources, opportunities and capability to:

* Learn, by participating in education and training

* Work, by participating in employment or voluntary work, including family and carer responsibilities

* Engage, by connecting with people, using local services and participating in local civic, cultural and recreational activities and

* Have a voice, in influencing decisions that affect them (www.socialinclusion.gov.au).

It is notable that this image of social citizenship does not include the ability to invoke and enforce legal rights. This absence of legal effectivity from social inclusion agendas is not unique to Australia (Sommerlad 2004). Yet it is clear that unresolved legal problems can both result from oppressive social relations of power and control, and contribute to experiences of marginalisation and exclusion. For example, 'legal needs' studies undertaken in the UK have found that socially excluded groups such as people with chronic illness or disability, lone parents, and welfare benefit recipients are particularly vulnerable to experiencing multiple legal problems (Pleasence et al. 2004: 31-32, 45; Pleasence et al. 2006: 54). Similarly, a study of civil and criminal law problems in six socio-economically disadvantaged areas of NSW found a high level of legal need within these communities, and a wide range of legal problems experienced in particular by Indigenous people and people with a chronic illness or disability (Coumerelos et al. 2006: xviii-xx). The UK studies argue that promoting access to justice is an important means of tackling social exclusion (Pleasence et al. 2006: 155). Indeed, the ability to invoke her legal rights is a significant avenue by which the excluded subject may be able to exercise agency, to regain control of social relationships and resist her own marginalisation. It can empower 'the vulnerable to be able to control their life circumstances and the future with some degree of success' (Ferguson 2003: 213).

The ability to exercise legal rights, however, is far from the heart of the government's current priorities under the social inclusion agenda, which include 'helping jobless families with children by helping the unemployed into sustainable employment and their children into a good start in life', 'addressing the incidence of homelessness by providing more housing and support services', 'assisting in the employment of people with disability or mental illness by creating employment opportunity and building community support', and 'closing the gap for Indigenous Australians with respect to life expectancy ... educational achievement and employment outcomes' (www.socialinclusion.gov.au). But at the same time, access to court orders and legal remedies--for example in relation to family breakdown, domestic violence or employment discrimination--may be a crucial means of helping jobless families with children achieve safe, stable post-separation living arrangements, reducing the incidence of homelessness caused by domestic violence, enhancing employment security for people with disability, and 'closing the gap for Indigenous Australians' in all of these areas. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Women, Legal Aid and Social Inclusion
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.