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Slater and Gordon will be celebrating World Social Work Day tomorrow (Tuesday, 18 March), marking five years since its dedicated social work service was introduced.
The firm’s Social Work Services Manager for NSW and ACT, Alexis Stonebridge, said Slater and Gordon was still the only firm in NSW to offer social work services to help clients going through a legal matter.
“Nobody should underestimate how stressful the long term impact of serious illness and debility is on a person on all areas of their lives,” Ms Stonebridge said.
“Financial difficulty is often the main reason for this stress and this can lead to the risk of homelessness.
“Legal proceedings can sometimes be lengthy and during that time, many clients can find themselves unable to pay for simple things like rent and basic living expenses, which can aggravate their emotional stress.
“Clients can also develop low self-esteem, feelings of social isolation, depression and even, suicidal thoughts.
“Our Social Work Service supports our clients through provision of counselling, advocacy and referral to assist them to access appropriate treatment and support services.
“The free in-house service has significantly helped reduce the psychological and social issues that can potentially affect a client’s ability to participate in the legal process.
“It is important that people feel they have the support they need whilst legal proceedings run their course.”
Ms Stonebridge said the firm’s social work team had helped more than 800 clients since it was introduced.