Welcome to the 6th edition of our newsletter

Hot off the Press - Serious Violent Offenders 

The CIJ has been commissioned to conduct some crucial research concerning community-based support provided to violent offenders while on parole or Community Corrections Orders. This discrete piece of work flows from the recent Harper Review, which identified that the highly developed service framework which currently exists to support and supervise serious sex offenders is not matched by an equivalent in relation to violent offenders. As the tragic case of Masa Vukotic demonstrated, this is despite the fact that violent offending can escalate even while the risk of sexual offending is reduced. This short project will make recommendations for best practice in the Victorian setting.

Update on other projects – watch this space!

Other research and policy work currently well underway at the CIJ includes:

Strengthening the Foundation for Compliance – following on from its work with the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria to revise the standard conditions of Family Violence Intervention Orders, the CIJ is now working with the court and specialist family violence service providers to ‘user test’ these conditions to ensure that they are as understandable as possible and achieve what they intend to achieve. This process will inform the release of final revised conditions early in 2017, in accordance with the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Family Violence

Multidisciplinary responses to family violence callouts – The CIJ has just wrapped up work with the Southern Melbourne Integrated Family Violence Partnership to develop a business model for a multidisciplinary response to repeat or recidivist incidents of family violence. The CIJ consulted widely with universal and specialist service providers, local Councils, Courts, Victoria Police, Corrections, Child Protection Community Legal Centres, amongst many more, to inform its report to the Partnership, which also considered the Royal Commission’s recommendations. The CIJ hopes that this work, once publicly available, might inform broader policy responses to family violence. 

Pro Bono Legal Assistance – The CIJ’s evaluation of the Fair Work Commission’s pro bono assistance program, which facilitates discrete legal assistance to eligible applicants and respondents in unfair dismissal matters, will be completed in September. Preliminary results indicate that recommendations from the CIJ’s 2013 evaluation of the pilot program have contributed to positive change and have built upon an already valuable program. 

Problem Gambling and offending – The CIJ’s work for the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation on the intersection of problem gambling and the criminal justice system is now well underway. A literature review has been conducted and the CIJ is now preparing a Discussion Paper, which it will use as a basis for widespread consultations, including with the legal profession, judiciary and court personnel. The CIJ will also be visiting an innovative treatment program at the South Australian Magistrates’ Court, the first of its kind in Australia, to examine how other jurisdictions are responding to this pervasive but under examined issue. The CIJ’s aim is to build broader understanding of the many ways in which problem gambling either contributes to, or is associated with offending – including, in particular, the way in which it can be a criminogenic factor which entrenches recidivism. This Discussion Paper will be available on the CIJ’s website during August, with the final report due for completion by the end of October. 
Enabling Justice

A Consultation Paper, containing interim findings and options for addressing the over-incarceration of people with an ABI, was launched by Rob Hulls and Julie Edwards at the Reintegration Puzzle conference on 21 June. We invite feedback via email to on the paper by 31 July 2016. Project partners will be meeting with key stakeholders over the next few months to discuss the options outlined in the Consultation Paper.
Rob Hulls with Julie Edwards at the Reintegration Puzzle Conference
The Justice User Group have been working hard on a self-directed advocacy campaign around the link between homelessness and prison. The group were fortunate to attend a number of sessions at Artful Dodgers Studios, a program of Jesuit Community College, where they were supported to develop artworks around the theme of their campaign. The artworks have been produced into postcards and posters which will be launched at an event on 4 August 2016 during Homelessness Week.
Artworks by the Justice User Group participants

Fastrack Soft Launch 

An exciting 2016 Fastrack Innovation Program was launched in early June.  Mentors from our partners in the ‘Access to Justice Through Technology’ stream, Victoria Legal Aid and the Federation of Community Legal Centres really showed off their creative side, coming up with clever and amusing ways to demonstrate the challenges identified by the sector for Fastrack students.  The four challenges are:
  • Workers’ Rights (How might we ensure that disadvantaged employees are better equipped, empowered and supported to understand and act on their employment rights?);
  • Debts and Disconnections (How might we ensure that those in (or at risk of) financial hardship have access to the information, resources and assistance they need, when they need it, to avoid accumulating debt and utilities disconnections?);
  • Accessing Legal Assistance (How might we improve access to legal assistance in a way that ensures efficiency, high quality, targeted service delivery, and that the most vulnerable have priority?), and
  • Service Delivery Across Community Legal Centres (How might we ensure that all clients of CLC’s receive the best quality service, irrespective of their location?)
The program has now commenced, so be sure to watch this space to be kept up-to-date on the innovative solutions developed by the teams!
Clockwise from top:  Rob Hulls, Karl Barratt (Consumer Utilities Advocacy Centre) & Adam McConvell (Kildonan), Brendan Lacota (Moonee Valley Legal Service) & Stephanie Tonkin (Westjustice)

2016 Innovative Justice Study Tour

In the week commencing 11 July, 11 lucky JD students had the privilege of observing our innovative courts in action as part of the Centre’s Melbourne Innovative Justice Study Tour.
The tour took in the Neighbourhood Justice Centre, the Drug Court, the Koori Court, the Assessment and Referral Court and the Family Drug Treatment Court. As well as observing the cases before the courts on the day, the students were able to sit in on the pre-hearing conference discussions at the Drug Court and had opportunities for Q&As with the Magistrates.  
In addition to the court visits, a workshop was held at the commencement of the study tour to provide students with a practical and theoretical context for some of the things they would see during the week, and at the conclusion of the tour, students were part of a ‘wrap up’ session with lawyers and Magistrates arranged by Deputy Chief Magistrate Jelena Popovic, which was a perfect way to finish this year’s tour.

"The study tour was excellent. I’m an OUA student and I highly recommend it to any other OUA students or face to face. It gives you a real insight into the justice system working and there’s a lot more to how we can learn to be lawyers in future.”  - Keri Neveldsen, OUA JD Student
Rob Hulls and Stan Winford with JD students at the Neighbourhood Justice Centre

Human Rights Law Internship 

Five RMIT JD students, selected from a very competitive pool of applicants, have commenced their Human Rights Internship at the CIJ. The internship was developed in partnership with the Australian Human Rights Commission. The students will undertake a human rights impact assessment of significant cases decided and laws introduced over the past 15 years to determine the potential impact of a Federal Human Rights Charter, had one been in place at the time. Students will be mentored by David Manne of Refugee Legal and Emily Howie of the Human Rights Law Centre, along with staff at the CIJ and the AHRC and will be based at the CIJ one day per week during the semester. Like many opportunities offered to students by CIJ, the students’ internship work will be intertwined with their studies, forming the basis of their assessment for the elective, Legal Research Project.

In May, Gillian Triggs was announced as the new Chair of the RMIT JD Advisory Board. 
Rob Hulls and Gillian Triggs with the RMIT JD Human Rights interns

More Student Opportunities Coming Up…

We’ve just locked in some exciting shadowing opportunities with Magistrates Ann Collins and Ann Goldsborough.  The dates are the week of 30 August – 2 September and 5 – 9 September so, RMIT JD students,  keep an eye out for the call for expressions of interest.
You can read a reflective piece from a previous shadowing opportunity with Ann Collins here.

Multidisciplinary Practice launched!

The Multidisciplinary Practice (MDP) was launched by the Vice Chancellor, Martin Bean, on 14 June. 
The MDP will create life changing experiences for RMIT students from a variety of disciplines, from the Juris Doctor, to Social Work, Justice and Criminology, Legal and Dispute Studies through to paralegal students. These students will work collaboratively and innovatively to provide wrap around services to women from the Dame Phyllis Frost Prison. 

In this example of a multidisciplinary practice – students benefit by learning from each other and understanding the ways in which different issues intersect in the real world.  Clients benefit by receiving a suite of services which not only address their legal problems, but the issues which have contributed to them in the first place.  The community benefits because, by having these contributing factors addressed, clients are less likely to reoffend, more likely to make a positive contribution and less likely to place further demand on the Corrections system”.   Martin Bean CBE, Vice Chancellor, RMIT University
Martin Bean CBE, RMIT VC; Charlotte Jones, MHLC Prinicpal; Rob Hulls, Director of CIJ and David Hayward, Dean of Global, Urban and Social Studies at the MDP Launch night

MDP and social work students 

Semester 2 has started early for some of the RMIT social work students doing their student placements through the Mental Health Legal Centre and Centre for Innovative Justice. Social work students complete two lots of 500 hour placements during their studies and  the CIJ and MHLC are happy to be providing a host of multidisciplinary placements for social work students.

MHLC are currently hosting two Field Education 2 (project-based) social work students. These students are carrying out an evaluation of the legal telephone advice Night Service, looking at innovative ways to improve this long-running service. Another two CIJ social work students are currently based at the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service, undertaking a review of the police complaints files from the last five years to make recommendations around how this system can work better.

MHLC will also be hosting two Field Education 1 clinical-based students, starting in late July. These students will be working alongside law students from RMIT to support people with mental health issues needing legal support, through the Inside Access prison support program and the Night Service telephone advice service.

Access To Justice By Design 

The forum on Access to Justice, Design Thinking and Artificial Intelligence in Storey Hall on Wednesday July 6 attracted 460 attendees and was live streamed on the night, with 192 users tuning in from all over Australia and the world (US, UK, Germany, Singapore).

The forum, in partnership with Victoria Legal Aid and National Directors of Legal Aid Commissions, included short presentations on design thinking and artificial intelligence and a demonstration of the revolutionary online dispute resolution system Rechtwijzer 2.0, which has been developed via partnerships including Dutch Legal Aid, HiiL Innovating Justice and Modria.

Dutch Legal Aid’s Peter van den Biggelaar and HiiL’s Maurits Barendrecht were also guests at a number of 'roundtables' arranged by the Centre involving key legal system stakeholders, including judges and magistrates, courts and tribunal administrators, State and Commonwealth departmental officials, lawyers and academics as well as members of the design community.
(Clockwise from top right) Speakers: Jon Cina, Bevan Warner, Maurits Barendrecht, Dr Richard Blythe and Rob Hulls, Peter van den Biggelaar and Nathan Welch; Matthew Magain, graphic illustrator, visually summarising the forum's topics; Storey Hall auditorium 
While our international speakers were here, we took the opportunity to record a podcast and a video interview on AI and technology and what skills lawyers in the 21st century will need with Maurits which you can view below.

Making Global Connections 

An invitation to speak at the 9th International Conference of the European Forum for Restorative Justice ‘Realising Restorative Justice, Human Rights and Personal Realities’ at Leiden in The Netherlands also provided an opportunity to strengthen relationships with Dutch and UK organisations that focus on justice innovation. Director, Rob Hulls, spoke about restorative justice and human rights on the final day of the Conference. During the visit, Rob and Deputy Director, Mark Madden, met with HiiL Innovating Justice and the Dutch Council for the Judiciary in The Hague and the Centre for Court Innovation, the Restorative Justice Council and the Institute of Criminal Policy Research in the United Kingdom.
Mark Madden outside the HiiL offices at The Hague in The Netherlands

CIJ Out and About

Coming up are the following CIJ speaking engagements:

22 July – Victoria Legal Aid, re Justice Reinvestment – Speaker: Rob Hulls
09 Aug – National Victims of Crime Conference, re innovative approaches to family violence – MCG – Speaker: Elena Campbell
16 Aug – Women's Policy Action Tank Forum –
Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, Melbourne – Speaker: Elena Campbell & Rob Hulls
18 Aug – Launch of Comm Unity Plus – Speaker: Rob Hulls

20 Sep – Monash Law Students Society, re Just Leadership – Monash Chambers – Speaker: Rob Hulls
17 Oct – Ombudsman Forum, Deborah Glass – RMIT Melbourne City Campus
26 Oct – Springvale Monash Legal Centre, AGM – Speaker: Rob Hulls
Late Oct – Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation Conference – Speaker: Rob Hulls
02 Nov – Victorian Women Lawyers, re
Royal Commission into Family Violence follow up – Speaker: Rob Hulls
29 Nov – Legal Studies Teacher’s Conference, re Justice Index - Victoria University City Campus – Speaker: Rob Hulls

For any enquiries about this newsletter, contact Mina Hilson
Copyright © 2016 Centre for Innovative Justice, All rights reserved.

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