Victorian barristers called to step up for wellbeing

The results of a new survey could directly influence future plans of the Victorian Bar

Victorian barristers called to step up for wellbeing

The Victorian Bar is calling on barristers to step up for the profession’s wellbeing by participating in a newly launched survey.

The organisation, which represents more than 2,000 barristers in the state, has launched the “Wellbeing at the Victorian Bar” survey to assess the health and wellbeing of the profession. It is conducted with the support of the University of Portsmouth.

“Supporting the health and wellbeing of our members is vitally important. Working life as a barrister, whilst rewarding, can be a solitary experience. Barristers’ work is often high-pressure and stressful,” said Dr Matt Collins QC, president of the Victorian Bar. “We are calling on all barristers to complete the survey for the good of the profession, their colleagues, and themselves. We want a complete picture of our members’ views, because it is only with a complete picture that we can make sure our support programs are optimally tailored.”

Collins said that in the profession general health and wellbeing – particularly mental health – are rarely discussed even though everyone can be affected by their own poor health or that of their colleagues.

“The Victorian Bar has always supported the health and wellbeing of its members, through a range of formal and informal measures, and has been a national leader in understanding the stressors that affect members of the profession. This survey will build on our understanding of the prevalence of wellbeing issues in the profession and the contexts in which they occur,” he said.

The Victorian survey is modelled on a similar survey conducted by the Bar of England and Wales in 2014, which resulted in the UK organisation’s development of a health and wellbeing portal for barristers.

The survey is expected to directly influence future plans of the Victorian Bar, particularly in the development of support and education facilities for members that will add to the counselling and other support services that the organisation already has in place.

“Providing services to members to support and enhance their practices is one of the Victorian Bar’s strategic objectives, with a focus on mentoring, mental health and financial and business management services,” Collins said.

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