Welcome to the 10th edition of our newsletter. Read on for all the latest CIJ news.

Research with Impact


CIJ have been engaged by Worksafe to undertake a project that will include:
•    The development of an experience map representing the injured worker’s experience, at a high level, through the enforcement and disputation processes with a view to better understand opportunities for change and potential use of restorative justice conferencing. 
•    An end-to-end review of the enforcement and dispute processes with recommendations for change and opportunities.   
•    A report that recommends a model (or models) of restorative justice conferencing to complement the enforcement and disputation processes.
The intent of this project is to identify opportunities to use restorative justice conferencing with the aim to repair or heal harm already caused to the injured worker and avoid potential harm that might arise as a result of the disputation or enforcement processes. 
This project will also respond to the Ombudsman Victoria’s recommendation that a review be conducted of the current dispute resolution model for workers compensation, in particular the process following unsuccessful conciliation, to ensure the model is fair and timely. 
The project will be delivered in three phases over the course of 12 to 15 months.

Family Violence

Responding to the next generation with the PIPA Project
The PIPA panelist members: Jo Howard, Lily Anderson, Hon, Gavin Jennings and Judge Amanda Chambers, Jamie Marloo Thomas and Elizabeth Grawe with facilitators Elena Campbell and Rob Hulls
Kicking off in January, the PIPA Project (Positive Interventions for Perpetrators of Adolescent violence in the home (AVITH)) has gathered huge momentum in only a short time, with a wide community of people keen to improve our collective response to adolescent violence in the home.
Work by the Project Partners – including CIJ, University of Tasmania, Kildonan Uniting Care, Victoria Legal Aid, Peel Youth Services (WA) and Western Australia Legal Aid – is well underway; a Literature Review has been conducted and ethics approval for the research received; the Steering Committee, chaired by the President of the Children’s Court and comprising a high level membership across government, family violence and legal sectors has been convened; and, perhaps most significantly, the project’s first public Forum - in the State Library of Victoria on a cold Autumn evening, Thursday, 27 April – has been held.
This Forum, described in more detail in the CIJ’s most recent blog (found here), featured a panel discussion between Special Minister of State Gavin Jennings; President of the Children’s Court, Judge Amanda Chambers; Jo Howard, experienced practitioner from Kildonan Uniting Care; Lily Anderson, co-founder of the Step-Up program in the US; Jamie Marloo Thomas, co-founder of the Wayapa Wuurrk Foundation and, most importantly, Elizabeth Grawe, a parent currently living with AVITH who had the courage to share her story.
The panel discussion highlighted the enormous complexity faced by families living with violent adolescents – the challenge of ensuring care and safety for all family members, including the adolescent; the lack of information for families about what to do or where to seek help; the lack of a considered response from the service and justice system; and the desperate need of families for support and respite.   A podcast of the Forum can be found here.
The PIPA Project will be continuing into its next phase of data analysis and interviews, as well as working towards a similar Forum later in the year in WA. Meanwhile, AVITH is now firmly on the agenda of other influential bodies, and the CIJ is working to ensure that the project continues to support and engage policy makers and practitioners as they engage with this challenge of responding to the next generation of individuals who use family violence.
CIJ’s first report on perpetrator pathways through the family violence system
Last year the CIJ was commissioned to provide a high level overview of the pathways that perpetrators of family violence can take as the service system becomes aware of their behaviour. This overview was to support the Government’s acquittal of Recommendation 85 of the Royal Commission into Family Violence and to inform Victoria’s 10 Year Plan for Change.
This research was gathered through a literature review and targeted consultations and identifies six of the many parts of the service system that have contact with perpetrators of family violence. This research provides the foundation for further work to map the roles and responsibilities of different parts of the system.
Over the coming months there will be more engagement with the non-government family violence service sector - prioritising Aboriginal communities and services, as well as other diverse communities, such as LGBTIQ, CALD and disability communities - regarding the roles and responsibilities of services that have contact with perpetrators of family violence.
Read the full report here.
Supporting the improvement of Family Violence Intervention Orders
The CIJ has been supporting the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria as it moves towards clearer, more comprehensive standard conditions for its Family Violence Intervention Orders. Having conducted extensive consultations and helped to develop a number of possible drafts, most recently the CIJ has acted on the Court’s groundbreaking decision to ‘test’ these new conditions with users of the legal system – being victims and perpetrators of family violence who have experience of being parties to intervention orders.
Following appropriate ethics approval processes, the CIJ conducted a range of separate focus groups with women who had sought the protection of an Intervention Order and men who had been respondents to such an Order. Participants in the focus groups were asked for their views regarding an example of what a new set of standard conditions may look like. Discussions ranged from the structure, sequence and comprehensibility of the language in the Orders, to the kinds of expressions which may be likely to cause additional stress to victims, or inadvertently increase the risk that a perpetrator may pose.
A report on this user testing process has now been provided to the Magistrates’ Court, along with some proposed redrafted conditions which attempt to reflect this rich and unique participant feedback. The Court will be considering this report over the coming months and the CIJ looks forward to this work ultimately contributing to improvements in the broader family violence court response.
Swift, Certain and Fair Sentencing of family violence offenders
The CIJ has also provided a submission to the Sentencing Advisory Council’s (SAC) review into Swift, Certain and Fair Sentencing of family violence offenders. This review responds to the recommendation of the Royal Commission into Family Violence that the Attorney-General refer the question of Swift, Certain and Fair (SCF) sentencing approaches to the SAC for consideration in the Victorian context.
SCF approaches can be understood or conceptualised in various ways. As the SAC has described these approaches in its Discussion Paper, the term ‘SCF’ applies to very specific compliance based court models used primarily in US jurisdictions to respond to drug and alcohol offending. Understandably, the SAC queries the capacity to transfer models that have been created for use in other jurisdictions to the Victorian criminal justice context, particularly to family violence offenders, rather than drug or alcohol offenders.

In its submission, however, the CIJ encouraged the SAC to work backwards in its consideration – starting first with a detailed examination of the nature and variation of family violence perpetration; the fluctuating nature of risk; and then consider the evidence which indicates that prompt, clear and consistent consequences are the most effective response that a justice system can deliver.

Read the CIJ’s submission here.

Student Opportunities

Taster Placements
Fair Work Commission
JD students Georgia McRae and Larissa Iglesias recently spent one week at the Fair Work Commission, shadowing Commissioners, working with Registry staff and becoming familiar with the many aspects of its work.   Georgia reflects on her week at FWC below.
RMIT JD Students Georgia McRae and Larissa Iglesias
"My week at the Fair Work Commission was both eye opening and informative. Given my academic interest in employment law, this placement was a highlight of my legal studies to date. It exposed me to various areas of the Commission, ranging from registry to Chambers. 

I was fortunate enough to meet Commissioners, their Associates, lawyers working on Enterprise Agreements and Modern Awards, and staff at registry. This provided me with a truly holistic and colourful experience. 

I observed hearings throughout the week from the vantage point of the Associate’s bench. This was a real novelty, as I’ve only ever watched legal proceedings from public galleries. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the interaction between legal representatives and unrepresented litigants. It was a privilege to observe advocates in action, which was an opportunity to reflect on how I can build upon my own advocacy skills. It was also heartening to see how the Commission instilled fairness in proceedings where parties lacked legal representation. 

My experience didn’t just focus on the law, but allowed me to gain a better understanding of policy and the mechanisms that affect legal change. The well-rounded nature of the placement gave me a taste of practice and allowed me to realise the immense career opportunities available to me.

There are the wide-ranging benefits of a career at the Commission. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting people from all corners of the tribunal to hear about their work, the law and their thoughts on the sector. I finished my placement with an enormous amount of enthusiasm and motivation to continue working towards a career in employment law."  

- by Georgia McRae, JD student

Court of Appeal

RMIT JD and VU law students with Court of Appeal Associates and other members of the legal profession
In April, ten JD students spent four enlightening days in the Court of Appeal as part of their internship program.
The program included:
  • attending appeal hearings – with students given access to the written materials before the Court;
  • meeting Judge’s associates and other court staff to gain an idea of the different careers of law graduates within and connected to the Court;
  • meeting judges - before and after court hearings. Judges will speak to students and answer questions, about their career experiences and the substance (and challenges) of their role;
  • touring the Old High Court, the Supreme Court Library and the old holding cells
  • touring the registry, and meeting senior registry staff, with a presentation from them on legal research skills and strategies
  • an industry lunch with legal professionals working in a range of interesting roles.
Read JD student, David Gilbert’s reflective piece here.
2017 Study Tour to New Zealand
An exciting itinerary is coming together for the JD Study Tour  to New Zealand in August following a reconnaisance trip by Rob and Stan in March to bed down arrangements.  The Study Tour will involve visits to the Drug and Alcohol Court, Rangatahi Youth Court, Mental Health Court and New Beginnings Court where students will have the opportunity to sit in on some pre court meetings, observe hearings, and speak to the presiding Judges afterwards, in addition to a full day Restorative Justice Workshop hosted by Massey University to kick start the tour.

Due to the sensitive nature and sizes of the courts, places are limited, and having received twice as many applications as spots available, a selection process was necessary.  Congratulations to the successful students.

CIJ Events  

A Federal Chart of Human Rights: Would it Make Any Difference? 

A report exploring the impact of a federal Charter of Human Rights on the outcomes of significant Australian cases and laws authored by 5 RMIT JD students will be launched by Professor Gillian Triggs, President of the Australian Human Rights Commission and Chair of the RMIT JD Advisory Board on Friday 12 May. The launch will be followed by a panel discussion chaired by Rob Hulls featuring David Manne, Refugee Legal, and Hugh de Kretser, Human Rights Law Centre, and the student authors about whether human rights in Australia require more protection, and whether a Federal Charter of Human Rights is the best way to achieve it.

This event is now fully booked.
Justice: Past, Present, Future
Tickets to our Law Week event, Justice: Past, Present, Future on 16 May has proven popular selling out within 48 hours of release.   To be held in the Old Magistrates Court, where Victoria's most notorious criminals were tried including Squizzy Taylor, Julian Knight and Chopper Read, the event will be an informal and fun evening with Barrister Brian Bourke talking about old style justice and Magistrate Pauline Spencer about the justice system now and how it’s changed.  This will be followed by a Q&A session facilitated by Rob Hulls on what a modern justice system might look like in the future.  

Audience members will also enjoy a tour of the Old Melbourne Gaol before the panel session commences.

JD 10th Anniversary Celebration - a call out to RMIT law alumni!

This year the RMIT JD program will celebrate its 10th Anniversary with the Graduate School of Business and Law hosting a gala event in the Old Melbourne Jail on 20 July.   If you’re an alumni of the old Articled Clerks course, and would be interested in coming along, we would love to hear from you – please contact Professor Penny Weller at

CIJ in the media

Community Courts - Making A Difference 
CIJ had the honour of hosting Judge Alex Calabrese, presiding Judge at the Red Hook Community Justice Centre for a lunch time seminar entitled ‘Do Community Justice Centres work?’ on 9 March.  
Judge Calabrese helped to set up this innovative court and has had enormous success in reducing recidivism rates in a community that had once earned a reputation as being the ‘crack capital of America’.  We’ve released the seminar as a podcast which you can listen to here.  We also filmed a short video interview with the Judge which you can view here.


Accessing Justice Through Technology 

  • Our Deputy Director, Mark Madden, recently authored a blog on accessing justice through technology which you can read here

As we speak 

  • View Rob’s keynote speeches from his speaking engagements here.

CIJ out and about

Coming up for 2017 are the following CIJ speaking engagements:

12 May   – Launch of Human Rights Report 
15 May   – VLF Law Talks  – Speaker: Rob Hulls
16 May   – Justice: Past, Present, Future – Speakers: Pauline Spencer, Brian Bourke – MC  Rob Hulls

22 June  – Reintegration Puzzle Conference – Speaker: Rob & Jesuit Social Services
07 July   – Victorian Postgraduate Criminology Conference – Speaker: Rob Hulls 
20 July   – JD 10th Anniversary celebration
26 July   – Metropolitan Law Talks – Speaker: Rob Hulls
7 Sept    – Victims of Crimes Conference – Speaker: Stan Winford

26-27 Sept – NTCOSS Conference, Darwin – Theme: turning practice on its head – Speaker: Rob Hulls
The CIJ staff are:
Rob Hulls - Director
Mark Madden - Deputy Director
Elena Campbell -Manager, Policy and Research 
Mina Hilson - Centre Coordinator
Stan Winford - Principal Coordinator, Legal Programs
Anna Howard - Project Coordinator, ABI Project and Volunteer and Placement Coordinator
Nareeda Lewers - Project Officer, Restorative Justice Project
Kat Ogilvie - Social Worker
Cordelia Rice - Admin Officer, Research and Policy
Heidi Phillips - Admin Officer
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