Action Step # 9: Measuring the Social Impact of Self-RepresentationNSRLP
In November our focus is Action Step #9 – Measuring the Social Impact of Self-Representation. The social impact of the rising numbers of SRLs is reflected in the consequences described by the SRL Research Study respondents, and includes not only financial hardships, but also the difficulty of maintaining employment while acting as a SRL, pressure on parenting especially for single parents, the impact on children, and personal health consequences (including depression and other stress-related illnesses). SRLs complain consistently of high stress levels, poor personal health and social isolation.
Community agencies that do not carry a mandate for assisting SRLs (family centres, women’s shelters, men’s groups, public housing organizations) are seeing growing numbers of clients who are involved with self-representation. There is growing pressure on such agencies to consider what resources and relative funding they should anticipate going forward in order to provide support services to this population.
More research is needed to assess the social impact of the SRL phenomenon, and to develop robust community and public strategies to begin to manage the many consequences.