Friday 8 May 2020
During the COVID-19 lockdown it is more important than ever to reach out and maintain connections. The Innovation in Isolation CIJ update is aimed at doing just that, to keep our networks up-to-date with our activities, and to share information and media articles, including justice innovations happening around Australia. We hope you find it useful. 


Reducing barriers to employment for Aboriginal people: rethinking the role of criminal record checks
Criminal record checking can be a major barrier to employment in Aboriginal communities.  RMIT University and Woor-Dungin are partnering on a project to find ways to improve employment opportunities for Aboriginal people, and to support employers in recruitment of Aboriginal people.  The project has been funded by the Victorian Legal Services Board. It builds on the Criminal Record Discrimination Project (CRDP), a project initiated by Aboriginal communities with Woor-Dungin in 2016 which advocated for legal change including spent convictions and anti-discrimination legislation.  The Victorian State government has now announced that it will legislate to introduce a spent convictions scheme for Victoria, including protection from discrimination in relation to old and irrelevant criminal history.

The aims of the current project are to identify existing good practice amongst employers, communicating these practices to job-seekers and employers in ways that can be readily adopted. We will also be engaging employers and employees in an ongoing program to enhance Aboriginal employment, in partnership with Victorian Aboriginal communities. It is important that this project is led by Aboriginal communities, so that its findings can be applied in the most effective ways possible.  We are keen to hear from people who would like to participate in this project and will providing further information about next steps soon. If you would like to be kept informed about this project, please contact Stan Winford at the CIJ on

NSW Premier's priority to reduce domestic violence reoffending by 2023
Throughout the current restrictions, governments, courts and service providers around Australia are continuing to focus their attention on how to respond more effectively to the perpetration of family violence. In addition to specific projects, the CIJ plays an ongoing role in these contexts, participating in wider advisory bodies as well as having input into the development of adapted responses in the changed service environment. 

This includes Associate Director Elena Campbell participating in a roundtable of experts providing advice to the NSW Government regarding the NSW Premier's Priority to Reduce Domestic Violence Reoffending by 2023. This roundtable will be meeting on a semi regular basis to explore how targets to reduce reoffending can be met and measured, while recognising that reducing family violence reoffending is as much about reducing patterns of risk and increasing safety as it is about reducing individual incidents of violence. 

How do you operate Men's Behavioural Change programs in a COVID-19 world?
Closer to home, the CIJ is also working with the Magistrates' Court of Victoria, Family Safety Victoria, No to Violence and other relevant organisations to develop an adapted response for men who are participating in Men's Behaviour Change Programs while these programs cannot operate in the usual face to face group environment. This includes assessing what measures are appropriate, in what context, and with which participants - mindful all the time that there can be no one size fits all and that any intervention can increase risk if not approached with care, particularly in the current context of increased risk within many Victorian homes. 

Financial Counselling has remained busy despite the isolation
The current situation has provided the opportunity to give information and support not only to our usual client base, but to share knowledge and experience with members of our own team who are navigating unchartered territory for many of them. Recently we have been able to resume our service with the women at the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre. Initially we have been able to work with staff to facilitate distance servicing through email and phone calls, and last week we were able to resume personal interviews.This has only been possible through the great work of the Mental Health Legal Centre in the establishment of the Inside Access Program (within which we practice) and the staff at DPFC who have made this return to service possible

COVID-19 and incarcerated women - a call to action
The social & economic cost of holding women in our prisons for relatively minor offences, especially during the COVID-19 crisis, is too big a risk, especially as most have been victims themselves.
Read part 2 here
Catherine Caruana, CIJ Blog, 24 April 2020

Financial Counselling help during COVID-19
During these stressful times, it can be daunting and hard to navigate financial assistance systems. Our Financial Counsellor, Sarah Davidson, has put together some resources.
Read further
Sarah Davidson, CIJ Blog, 8 May 2020

Prisons, courts and the justice system update The COVIDSafe tracing app Policing and fines  

    Acquired brain injuries and the criminal justice system - Tuesday 19 May
    Register here

    Restorative justice - what is it & how can it improve the justice system - Friday 22 May Register here

    With COVID-19 shutting down sports globally, BBC sports commentator Andrew Cotter has had to resort to commentating on his two adorable Labradors, Olive and Mabel, with hilarious results!  Here’s his latest….


Stay Safe!

- CIJ Team
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