Edition #20
Welcome to the first edition of our newsletter for 2019.
With the state election out of the way and the Victorian public rejecting the one-size-fits-all “lock ‘em up and throw away the key” approach to law and order, we are optimistic that 2019 will be an exciting time for innovative justice initiatives.
As you can see from this edition, we are involved in some ground-breaking projects that seek to embed innovative and restorative approaches into social insurance systems.
Addressing the issues that bring people into contact with the justice system and ensuring that holistic approaches are embraced once that contact is made is central to the work we do at the CIJ. Based on the experiences of users of the system, whether they be people with an acquired brain injury, or victims or perpetrators of family violence (and often they are both), or clients of social insurance schemes, our projects are aimed at providing practical solutions and recommendations to policy makers.
Involving students in everything we do and providing clinical experience in multidisciplinary practices like the MHLC and LACW means that RMIT Juris Doctor, Social Work and Financial Counselling students will become not only highly employable, but also advocates of innovative justice principles.

The CIJ is certainly the place to be in 2019!
 - Rob Hulls, CIJ Director

Finishing touches on national projects 

Two of the ANROWS funded projects the CIJ is involved with are now in their final stages. Researchers on the Positive Interventions for Perpetrators of Adolescent Violence in the home (PIPA) Project are about to submit their final report to ANROWS for peer review, with public release anticipated towards the second half of the year. 

In the interim - and with permission from ANROWS – PIPA lead researcher and CIJ Associate Director Elena Campbell has been sharing some interim findings with government departments in different states to inform policy development, as well as presenting to conferences across the country. 

The response so far has been encouraging, with those involved in policy and service development indicating a heightened awareness and incorporation of issues highlighted by the project, including the diversity and complexity of young people and their families, as well as the blunt nature of the justice system response.

Meanwhile, the final report to ANROWS regarding Perpetrator Intervention Systems is also being finalised. Led by Curtin University in WA and involving several other universities, this immense project will also be released later in 2019. The project team is planning a range of interstate conference presentations that will bring together a more nuanced understanding of the perpetrator intervention landscape, and our expectations about what ‘perpetrator accountability’ should really mean. 


Women’s Decarceration update

Work has now begun on the CIJ's evaluation of Women Transforming Justice, a pilot program run by Darebin Community Legal Centre, the Law and Advocacy Centre for Women and Flat Out. WTJ is tackling the crisis of women's mass incarceration in Victoria by addressing the drivers of women's criminalisation. Women in custody will be provided with skilled, integrated and women-specific legal representation and outreach-based case management, to enhance their prospects of bail and to support them once on bail to remain safe and stable in the community. We were pleased to see WTJ feature in an important recent article by Miki Perkins in The Age about the increasing rates of women’s incarceration in Victoria. 

Our evaluation of the Women Transforming Justice program will be the first piece of work in our Women’s Decarceration Research Agenda. Further pieces currently in design are likely to concern women’s experiences of court – including in therapeutic jurisdictions – as well as a focus on the misidentification of women by the family violence system as predominant aggressors. Priorities are still in development and further information will be available in the next edition of the newsletter. 

Supporting Justice Update

Work is progressing well on the CIJ’s Supporting Justice project which, through two streams of work, aims to design better justice responses for people with a cognitive impairment and/or complex needs in Victoria. 

In the first stream, the CIJ and its project partners, strategic design consultants Paper Giant, are developing an online resource for courts and legal professionals to ensure that least restrictive approaches are used in relation to people with a cognitive impairment, mental illness, autism spectrum disorder and/or dual diagnosis. 


Please contact Stan Winford at for more information about these workshops and how to get involved.

TAC pilot program training

The CIJ has been working with the Transport Accident Commission to establish a pilot restorative justice program for people who have been affected by transport accidents. After successful delivery last year of the first stage of the project, which was designing a restorative process model for the TAC, we have now moved into Stage 2, which is the two-year pilot of the model.

This month, the CIJ has been delivering training workshops for TAC staff in Geelong to help them understand how they might incorporate restorative justice processes into their work, and to identify clients who might benefit from being aware of and/or want to make use of restorative justice options. The training is intended to help TAC staff confidently have conversations with clients about restorative justice processes, and when appropriate, to effectively refer clients to a restorative justice provider. Feedback from the workshops has been positive, with staff saying they've identified many clients for whom this program may be beneficial. 

Innovative Justice subject Semester 1, 2019

Homelessness is on the rise across Australia. ABS data indicates that up to 116,00 people were homeless across Australia on census night 2016. In Melbourne, on any given night, almost 20,000 people are homeless. The City of Melbourne has developed a range of responses to people sleeping rough, targeting rough sleepers, businesses, visitors and residents. The City’s position has also changed over the past three years: in 2017, former Lord Mayor Robert Doyle introduced measures to fine people up to $250 for leaving possessions unattended. In June 2018 these measures were dropped by new Lord Mayor Sally Capp. However, Victorian legislation including the Summary Offences Act still provides for offences and penalties – such as begging - that have the effect of targeting people living on the streets.

This semester, the RMIT Juris Doctor’s Innovative Justice subject will focus on the topic “sleeping rough” as a lens through which to examine innovative justice. In this course, students will look at homelessness as a legal and policy challenge. Hearing a broad range of perspectives on this issue from magistrates, lawyers, social workers, council representatives, police and business owners, as well as people with lived experience of homelessness, students will be invited to develop and present their own innovative justice responses. The subject is delivered by Professor Bronwyn Naylor and Greg Barns from the Graduate School of Business and Law, and the CIJ’s Associate Director Stan Winford.

Where are they now?

David Mejia-Canales completed the RMIT Juris Doctor in 2012. The CIJ had a chat with him to see what he's been up to since.

When did you graduate, what have you been doing since then? 
I graduated in 2012, in fact I graduated on the 12th day of the 12th month in 2012 to be precise! I was admitted to practice in 2013 and I’ve been very busy since law school, as you’ll see.

A life changing experience

Many of our RMIT Juris Doctor students have come to the course to enrich their already considerable professional skills and experiences in various fields. 

Jamal Hakim for example is already the Chief Operating Officer of Marie Stopes Australia, but is also in the final year of his Juris Doctor at RMIT.
We were thrilled to read recently a blog post by Jamal about his experience of doing Clinical Legal Education through the JD program and the CIJ.  
“In my role at Marie Stopes, I am often working with our funding team to support women with complex psycho-social needs to help them access our sexual and reproductive health services. I felt that I needed to better understand the pressures they face, outside the boundaries of healthcare… I was astounded by the increasing numbers of incarcerated women and both the variation and similarity in their circumstances.”
Jamal’s story is a great example of not only the kinds of life-changing experiences our Clinical Legal Education program can offer students, but also shows how students can use these experiences to further inform their chosen careers, and set them on pathways to new ones.

Financial Counselling at LACW and MHLC

The CIJ is excited to announce the imminent addition of financial counselling to the existing co-located multidisciplinary practices at the Law and Advocacy Centre for Women (LACW) and the Mental Health Legal Centre (MHLC). 

The Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation has provided funding to the CIJ to employ a financial counsellor to deliver services to women in the criminal justice system affected by gambling. The financial counsellor will be seconded to LACW and MHLC to add to the existing integrated practices that already see lawyers and social workers providing holistic support to women at both the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre, and those in the community who are at the point of coming into contact with the criminal justice system.

The complex links between gambling and involvement with the criminal justice system provide a unique opportunity to offer integrated support services and to address the underlying factors that lead to women’s contact with the justice system.

In addition to financial counselling services, this position also provides an exciting opportunity for RMIT financial counselling students to complete their clinical placements at LACW and MHLC, overseen by the CIJ financial counsellor. These student placements will operate alongside and complement social work and law student placements.
New faces at CIJ

We are delighted to welcome two members to the CIJ team this month. Riley Ellard is our new Research and Advocacy Officer who will be providing research support on a broad range of CIJ projects. Riley will be working with our Associate Directors Elena Campbell and Stan Winford to identify new areas of research through which the CIJ can drive policy reform and systemic change.

Social worker Bernice Beaucaine has come on board to work across the CIJ and the Mental Health Legal Centre, supervising students and providing clients with social work support. Kat Ogilvie, who was previously in this role, is now seconded to provide social work support and student supervision with our partners at the Law and Advocacy Centre for Women in a new position funded by the Federation of Community Legal Centres. Kat will also be helping to coordinate the CIJ’s women’s decarceration research agenda this year.

You can read more about Bernice and Riley’s previous work here.

We're also recruiting for a fixed term Research & Advocacy Officer – Justice and Disability, to join our fabulous team working on the Supporting Justice Project.  If you're interested in applying or would like to find out more, contact Stan Winford 9925 1189.
CIJ at the Australian & New Zealand Society of Criminology conference

Our Director Rob Hulls has been to plenty of conferences in his time but never has he described one as “the best conference I’ve ever been to”, until he attended the Future Directions of the Adult Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Courts Conference at the University of Auckland in late January. The CIJ has had a long-standing relationship with the AODTC through our friendship with presiding judge and co-founder Lisa Tremewan, and our annual Innovative Justice study tours, but even so, the conference was an inspirational reminder of the power of therapeutic courts.

Spotlight on Justice Innovation 

There is often debate about the purpose of prisons. Some consider that prisons are about punishment and community protection alone. But most agree that they are intended at least in part to reform and rehabilitate prisoners.
In Australia, the data suggests that prisons are far from effective in rehabilitation, and therefore preventing reoffending. Recent Productivity Commission data tells us that almost 45% of prisoners released from jail had reoffended and were back behind bars two years later. Nationally, these rates have risen every year for the past five years.

In the ACT, steps are being taken to reverse this trend. The Corrections Minister Shane Rattenbury is pledging to build a new 80-bed reintegration centre for low risk inmates, to help them prepare for life back in the community. The scheme is designed to ease the ACT’s growing prison population and ease the pull on the government’s purse strings.
Not only this, but the ACT has also enhanced its commitment to human rights by developing a clear set of human rights principles for ACT Correctional Centres. These principles apply to the practical daily realities of prison life, relating to matters of transport and living conditions, as well as providing guidance on broader issues of access to purposeful activity, appropriate rehabilitation support, and proper release planning. The safety of staff is also supported by the document.

Video interview with Louise Glanville, CEO Victoria Legal Aid

"This is a role that accords with my values, that means I can commit to doing something that I think is very much in the public good.”

- Louise Glanville, CEO Victoria Legal Aid

Louise Glanville took over as Managing Director of Victoria Legal Aid last October. She is the first woman to head up the VLA, after a distinguished career as a public sector leader in agencies including the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, and the State and Federal Governments.

Our Director Rob Hulls recently caught up with Louise Glanville in our video interview series for students. She told Rob about how her qualifications in both Social Work and the Law have informed her approach to multidisciplinary practice, and why legal aid is a fundamental part of the justice system.


Women’s incarceration 

"If we had a better response to preventing & addressing men's violence against women, we wouldn't need women's prisons." 

- Elena Campbell, CIJ Associate Director

Our Associate Director Elena Campbell features in this special episode of ABC television’s The Drum on women’s incarceration, alongside a panel of other experts including Djirra’s Antoinette Braybrook, Sisters Inside’s Debbie Kilroy, Cheryl Axleby from the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services and the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement Inc, Josephine Cashman from the Big River Impact Foundation, and Eileen Baldry from the University of New South Wales. 

ABC The Drum, 15 Feb 2019


DNA testing in Victoria

Our Associate Director Stan Winford was recently on Channel 10 News talking about why Victoria’s new DNA testing laws could breach the human rights of teenagers. You can view the story below at 15:25 on the timeline.

Channel 10 News, 5 Feb 19

CIJ out and about

Coming up are the following CIJ speaking engagements:

1 March – Disabling Justice. Why the system fails people with disability & mental illness. Speaker: Rob Hulls
7 March – Women in Rotary International Women's Day. Speaker: Rob Hulls
20 March – Minter Ellison. Speaker: Rob Hulls 
25-26 March - No More Harm Conference, Gold Coast QLD. Speaker: Elena Campbell
28 March  - JCV - Perpetrator Interventions. Speaker: Elena Campbell
14 May - VLF Law Talks. Speaker: Rob Hulls
16 May - PIPA, Western Health.  Speaker: Elena Campbell
22 May – NTV Ending Men’s Family Violence Conference. Speaker: Rob Hulls
30 May - Australian Youth Justice Conference. Speaker: Elena Campbell
25 July – Metropolitan Law Talks, Victoria Law Foundation. Speaker: Rob Hulls
10-13 Dec – Australian & New Zealand Society of Criminology Conference, WA. Speaker: Rob Hulls
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