Welcome to the CIJ newsletter #14 and the first for 2018.  To catch up on all the latest news from the CIJ read on.
Research with Impact

PIPA heading South…then North, then West again!

Over summer the PIPA Project team dived deep into the cool water that is data analysis, reviewing more than 300 case file audits; over 5000 VLA client records and the transcripts of over 30 focus groups and individual interviews to establish a nuanced and detailed picture of the complexity that is adolescent family violence. We hope to present these findings to our Steering Committee in March and develop a framework which can then be tested with our project participants across Victoria, Tasmania and in WA during the autumn months before reporting to ANROWS. While in Tasmania, we will also be holding the third public PIPA forum, exploring with practitioners what responses adolescents and their families receive, and whether such responses are effective.

Mapping roles and responsibilities

In January the CIJ also wrapped up its work for the Department of Premier & Cabinet in relation to the Royal Commission into Family Violence's Recommendation 85 – Mapping the roles and responsibilities of services in relation to perpetrator interventions. As part of this work the CIJ developed a detailed framework of Roles and Responsibilities which, over the course of 2017, it tested with over 100 different service providers in comprehensive workshops. A specific report on this consulting process has been presented to Government, while a broader report describing the framework and featuring research with perpetrators concerning their own experience of the service system, is anticipated for release in 2018.  

Perpetrator Intervention Systems – Case studies

As a partner in a national project mapping Perpetrator Intervention Systems (PIS) across Australia, the CIJ will be conducting case studies of PIS in two geographical areas of Victoria. Building on previous work that the CIJ has conducted with regional family violence partnerships in these locations, the case studies will examine variation in service practices and highlight gaps and opportunities for more collaborative work which keeps perpetrators firmly in view. These case studies will be part of a collection of case studies contributing to the project that runs over three years and is led by Curtin University in WA.

MCV Counselling Order Review

Still with perpetrators in view, the CIJ has been engaged to review the approach used by specialist courts and lists in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria mandating perpetrators to Men’s Behaviour Change Programs as a condition of an Intervention Order. Drawing on a literature review; expert interviews and detailed stakeholder consultations, this exciting project will enable the development of a Model Program and Operational Guidelines, as well as explore broader considerations which can inform the Court’s approach across a range of perpetrator intervention work over the coming years.

Court Support 4 Kids Project

Just as importantly, the CIJ has been engaged by McAuley Community Services for Women to evaluate its Court Support 4 Kids program. This program is delivered by McAuley, Bethany and Eastern Domestic Violence Services to offer support for children who attend court while their mothers are seeking Intervention Orders. As part of this project, the CIJ will examine the wider needs of women who need to bring their children to court while seeking Intervention Orders. The project will then assess the extent to which the CS4K program is meeting some of these needs and make recommendations for the future.

OPCAT Symposium

Rob Hulls speaks at the OPCAT Symposium
As recent events at Don Dale and elsewhere across Australia have shown, people who are “out of sight and out of mind”- in prison or some other place of detention - are extremely vulnerable to abuse and degrading treatment. Recent inquiries including the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory and a series of reports by the Victorian Ombudsman, Human Rights Watch, the Human Rights Law Centre and the Centre for Innovative Justice have shown that vulnerable prisoners and detainees continue to experience abuse.

The Australian government has recently announced that it will ratify a UN Treaty which requires that all places of detention are regularly monitored by an independent agency. In light of this, a significant group of national and international human rights experts gathered together at RMIT University on 11 December 2017 for an important discussion on the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT).  Experts including Professor Malcolm Evans, Nick Hardwick, Richard Harding, Ngila Bevan, Sophie Farthing and others explored how the advent of OPCAT in Australia could lead to effective - regular and planned, proactive and preventative - monitoring of places of detention, protecting and promoting the human rights of vulnerable people. Rob Hulls opened the symposium developed by Professors Bronwyn Naylor and Penny Weller and Stan Winford from the CIJ, and supported by a grant from the RMIT Graduate School of Business and Law.

Aboriginal Justice Forum

The CRDP team with Greg Wilson at the 49th Aboriginal Justice Forum, Swan Hill, 13 Dec 2017. (L-R) CIJ's Stan Winford, Michael Bell, Simone Spencer, Christa Momot, Bronwyn Naylor, Naomi Murphy, Wenzel Carter, Greg Wilson

Three years of hard work by the many Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal stakeholders involved in Woor-Dungin’s Criminal Record Discrimination Project (CRDP) culminated in a submission to the 49th statewide Aboriginal Justice Forum, held in Swan Hill, Victoria, in December.

The CRDP, a Woor-Dungin-led collaboration between community and legal organisations, was established to respond to calls from Woor-Dungin’s Aboriginal partner organisations to address the range of negative impacts their communities face as a result of the unregulated disclosure of, and inappropriate reliance on, old and irrelevant criminal history.

These impacts include social and economic exclusion and poor justice and health outcomes, all of which limit the capacity of Aboriginal Victorians to achieve self-determination.

The CRDP’s submission provided specific examples of these negative impacts through detailed case studies and developed a model, based on extensive consultation with community, for a spent convictions scheme and anti-discrimination protections. The submission called on the Aboriginal Justice Forum to endorse these legislative recommendations.

The recommendations were unanimously endorsed by Koori Caucus members and RAJAC representatives and will now be taken by Secretary of the Department of Justice and Regulation Greg Wilson to the Victorian Attorney-General.

The endorsement of the submission’s recommendations represents an outstanding outcome, one which everybody involved in the CRDP over the past three years has a right to be truly proud of.

The power of yes, and...

In February, more than 20 participants from the justice sector participated in the Centre’s two-day training workshop on human-centred design/design thinking and theory of change. The aim was to give participants the tools (and mindsets) to apply these approaches to solving real-world challenges in the justice system.

Concepts ranged from journey mapping, ethnographic research and program logic to understanding the power of phrases like ‘how might we’ (rather than ‘how could/should we’) and ‘yes, and… (rather than ‘yes, but…)
The workshop was facilitated by Julia Birks and Caroline Sanz from isobar.  It is one of a series delivered through the CIJ designed to promote these approaches and build capacity in the sector…. and avoid Einstein’s theory of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and hoping for a different result!’
Design Thinking workshop participants.
Taster Placements
Two exciting CIJ taster placement opportunities are available to RMIT JD students in Semester 1 2018 and applications are now open. The opportunities available are:
  • Court of Appeal placement: a four day intensive placement at the Court of Appeal 
  • Fair Work Commission: a five day intensive placement at the Fair Work Commission. Previous students who undertook this placement have secured employment with the FWC, so it really is a great opportunity!
RMIT JD students should check their email for more information and how to apply.
Melbourne Innovative Justice Study Tour 
Late last year the CIJ’s Innovative Justice Study Tour to New Zealand lead by Rob and Stan Winford, received an award from the RMIT Graduate School of Business and Law in recognition of the high rates of student satisfaction it received.   Preparations are now underway for the Melbourne Innovative Justice Study Tour which will take in the specialist courts in Melbourne such as the Koori Court, Drug Court, ARC List and Neighbourhood Justice Centre.  Numbers will be capped so to avoid missing out get in early and express your interest at (note you must be an RMIT JD student to be eligible).
Events: Passion with a Purpose

International Women's Day 2018

Putting women’s prisons out of business: gender responsive justice and solutions in an increasingly punitive world. 
The relationship between gendered violence and women’s criminalisation is well recognised, with male violence not only a direct funnel into Victoria’s male prisons, but its female prisons as well. In a criminal justice system designed to react to the extremities of this violence, however, women experience gendered justice as well. With diminishing sentencing options and a blunter justice response putting more women behind bars, the question then becomes would we need a women’s prison at all if we responded more appropriately to male violence?   
The CIJ, in partnership with the Law and Advocacy Centre for Women, will host a panel discussion on Tuesday 6 March as part of IWD.    NOTE: The event is now sold out and the waiting list full, however we will be continuing to undertake research and advocacy in this area,  including further panel discussions, so if you would like to receive information on future events such as this, please subscribe to this newsletter or email us at

Save the date:  In conversation with Julia Gillard  

The CIJ is delighted to announce a very special In Conversation event with Julia Gillard, former Australian Prime Minister and now Chair of the Global Partnerships for Education and Board Member of Beyond Blue on Thursday 23 August.  Keep an eye out for details.
In the Media

Anna Brown - Using the law to make positive change

Check out our latest video interview with Anna Brown, Director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre, who shares her experiences as a student, her career in law and law reform, including leading the successful YES! Campaign on marriage equality.

A new face at the CIJ....

Claire Slattery has worked for several years as a journalist for Fairfax Media and the ABC, where she reported on a wide range of justice and law and order issues, for programs incliding AM, PM, The World Today, as well as ABC News. Claire joins the CIJ as our first, part time Advocacy and Engagement Officer, and spends the rest of her week looking after her three year old son Max.
CIJ out and about
06 Mar  -  IWD event: Putting women's prisons out of business: gender responsive justice
                and solutions in an increasingly punitive world.    Facilitator:  Elena Campbell
22 Mar -   Gambling harm and families conference, Traralgon.  Speaker:  Elena Campbell
05 Apr -    Panel forum on mandatory sentencing, therapeutic courts and a human rights charter for 
                 the NT.  Speaker:  Rob Hulls.
30 Apr -    IIRP Canada Conference: Restorative Justice as a response to workplace harm. 
                 Speakers: Rob Hulls and Stan Winford
09 Jun -    COAT Tribunals Conference, Canberra.  Speaker: Rob Hulls.
12 Jun -    10th International European Forum for Restorative Justice Conference, Albania. 
                  Speakers: Stan Winford & Mary Polis

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