Edition #21

OPP victims report launched  

The CIJ’s important report for Victoria’s Office of Public Prosecutions on communicating with victims is now live!

Communicating with Victims about Resolution Decisions: A Study of Victims’ Experiences and Communication Needs provides a comprehensive insight into the experiences of victims who are involved in prosecutions by the OPP, with recommendations to improve the processes around how victims are consulted about prosecution decisions.

We were honoured to have Victoria’s Minister for Victim Support Ben Carroll launch the report, along with the OPP’s Solicitor for Public Prosecutions John Cain and victim advocate Melinda Dine.

Also at the launch were many distinguished leaders from the legal profession, including Chair of the Victims of Crime Consultative Committee Bernard Teague, Director of Public Prosecutions Kerri Judd, Chief Magistrate Peter Lauristen, former Supreme Court Justice Paul Coghlan, Deputy Secretary at the Department of Justice and Community Safety Anna Faithfull and Louise Glanville from Victoria Legal Aid.

The report received some great media attention, with coverage in The Herald Sun, The Australian, The Age, 3AW and the ABC.

The report’s authors are CIJ Associate Director Stan Winford and Senior Advisor, Research and Advocacy Nareeda Lewers. You can access the full report, as well as a podcast and blog about the research and some photos of the event launch on the CIJ’s website.

Pictured (L-R): John Cain, Rob Hulls and Ben Carroll

New project - Victims Services Review

The CIJ is embarking on a new project that will build on our previous research concerning the experiences of victims of crime. We have been contracted by the Victorian Department of Justice & Community Safety to conduct a review of the victim services support system that currently operates in Victoria. 
As part of this review, the CIJ will map and explore the operation and relationships of existing victims services – as well as the awareness and referral pathways to and between services amongst professional stakeholders. The project will also involve qualitative research with victims of crime themselves, concerning their experiences of the service system: the kinds of support they received; the effectiveness of this support; and the extent to which existing services met their often wide and varied needs. 
Highlighting these needs – as well as the diversity and complexity of people who experience crime – is a crucial step towards unpacking the often simplistic debate around criminal justice systems, as well as default assumptions about what victims really want. We look forward to providing updates as the work progresses.

Making connections through PIPA 

While the PIPA (Positive Interventions for Perpetrators of Adolescent violence in the home) report awaits peer review and then progresses to publication later in the year, the value and benefits of this project continue to echo across the CIJ's work. Over the past few months the CIJ PIPA team has provided advice to services and agencies who are keen to develop a place-based response to the use of family violence by adolescents. The team has also kept courts and government departments in the loop regarding the importance of recognising complexity and diversity in the lives of young perpetrators. 

In early May, PIPA project lead and CIJ Associate Director Elena Campbell (pictured with ANROWS CEO Heather Nancarrow) joined other ANROWS researchers to present at the Australian Youth Justice Conference in Sydney . Elena will also be presenting on the PIPA Project at an upcoming Department of Justice & Community Safety seminar with interstate colleagues, as well as at the No To Violence conference later this month. 

Clinical Legal Education Semester 1, 2019

Semester 1 is off to a great start with students undertaking Clinical Legal Education placements with our partners at the Mental Health Legal Centre (MHLC) and the Law and Advocacy Centre for Women (LACW).
Students at MHLC have visited the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre, hearing from women who are incarcerated there and assisting them with civil legal issues. Our Inside Access fines clinic has continued to be popular with the clients. We have been able to help many women to leave DPFC free from large debts from fines enforcement, including representing two women at hearings in the Magistrates’ Court. 
Two students were also able to attend a one day training seminar for MHLC lawyers and their pro-bono partners about the Mental Health Tribunal. This was a great insight for students into how this unusual and important tribunal works and how legal practitioners maintain their education after leaving university.
Students (including Andre Barca and Emma Collard, pictured below)
 have also enjoyed working with our social workers as part of the multi-disciplinary practices at LACW and MHLC. This is especially apparent when one practice can solve multiple problems a client presents with in-house, rather than having to refer non-legal issues elsewhere.

Innovative Justice subject

A second intensive teaching weekend for the RMIT Juris Doctor's Innovative Justice subject took place on 4 & 5 May.

Over the weekend, students heard from speakers on the topic of "accessible justice", including Magistrate Ann Collins about the Assessment and Referral Court list and the Koori Court, Greg Barns about making justice accessible for prisoners, Stan Winford on the CIJ’s work for the Office of Public Prosecutions on communicating with victims, and Brendan Lacota from JusticeConnect about human centred design and technology-based solutions to justice challenges such as fines. CIJ/MHLC social worker Bernice Beaucaine and MHLC manager Charlotte Jones spoke about multidisciplinary practice at the MHLC, and the Neighbourhood Justice Centre's Jay Jordens talked about working within a problem-solving court.

In the afternoon, students presented their innovative justice solutions to the challenge of ‘sleeping rough’, providing some creative responses, including ideas for improving the way police interact with rough sleepers, a mobile legal advice service, and a community referral hub.

Counting down to our New York Study Tour!

With six weeks to go before our annual Innovative Justice Study Tour, ten excited students and two CIJ staff members are gearing up for the long haul flight to New York. This is the first year our Study Tour has travelled to New York, where we will take students to Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Newark to see the latest innovations to reduce mass-incarceration and implement trauma-informed practice. Some of the highlights will be visits to the Center for Court Innovation, the Red Hook Community Justice Center, the Brownsville Community Justice Center and Bronx Community Solutions. The filmmakers of RIKERS will hold an exclusive screening and Q&A for students showing their latest release AFTER RIKERS: Justice by Design. As you can see from this photo, tour leaders CIJ Director Rob Hulls and Student Program Manager Kate Ottrey are already dreaming of Times Square!

Where are they now?

Ashley Thomas completed the RMIT Juris Doctor in 2018. 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 from the RMIT JD program at the end of 2018. The first thing I did was flee the country. I went and hiked around Patagonia for a month, a great way to recover from three years of hard work. The next thing I did was move to Canberra for my grad job. I have been working as a graduate at Safe Work Australia since early January. I have been fortunate to work on a range of interesting projects already and there’s more to come!

Criminal record reform update

In early May the CIJ was pleased to note the Victorian Parliament took yet another step closer to legislating for a spent convictions scheme, after the Legal and Social Issues Committee was given a reference to inquire into and report on the issue.


Pictured (L-R) Stan Winford, Michael Bell, Simone Spencer, Christa Momot, Bronwyn Naylor, Naomi Murphy, Wenzel Carter, Greg Wilson
Supporting Justice on track

Supporting Justice aims to improve the justice system's responses to mental health and disability. The project is on track to deliver an online resource as part of the first stream by 30 June. Resource concepts were explored and tested during three co-design sessions between 11-16 April.

“I was surprised by the stories of those with lived experience and found it to be invaluable to discuss their experiences with us.” – Lawyer who participated in co-design session

Reflecting on insights from the co-design sessions, and building on earlier consultations and system mapping, the project team have identified two key aims for the resource:
  1. Help legal and court professionals spot the signs of disability and act accordingly; and
  2. Ensure people with disability get appropriate and timely support.
The resource will be something that enables lawyers and other professionals to respectfully communicate with and get the right supports in place for people with a disability. The project team will now move into the prototype development and testing stage. There will be opportunities in May and June for people to engage with the project team on prototype testing.

You'll be able to read more about where the project is at in our next Supporting Justice Bulletin later this week. 

Pictured: project members exploring possibilities for the resource design
Dorothy Armstrong joins the team

In other Supporting Justice news, the project team has been thrilled to welcome Dorothy Armstrong onboard as a team member and peer-support worker. Doddy has lived experience of the criminal justice system, and offers valuable insights about how the system interacts with people with cognitive impairments. She will also provide support to other participants who are contributing to the project. Doddy was last year recognised with a Victorian Disability Award for her advocacy work promoting the rights of women with disability in the criminal justice system. This was in part through her involvement with the CIJ’s earlier project, Enabling Justice, which looked at the experiences of people with an Acquired Brain Injury in the justice system. We are really looking forward to working with Doddy again!
New financial counsellors start

A short while ago we announced we had received funding from the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation to provide financial counselling services for clients as part of the multidisciplinary team working with our co-located partners at the Law and Advocacy Centre for Women (LACW) and the Mental Health Legal Centre (MHLC).  We are now pleased to be able to report that Raylene Carnie and Sarah Davidson have been appointed to share this role and have just started this month.

Sarah and Raylene will be working alongside LACW’s and MHLC’s lawyers and social workers to support women in the criminal justice system who have been affected by gambling. Financial counselling will be delivered both at the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre women’s prison and in the community. Sarah and Raylene will also be supervising RMIT Financial Counselling students on placement. Welcome to Sarah and Raylene.
New staff

Meanwhile since our last newsletter in February we have welcomed to the fold six new CIJ staff.

As well as Raylene, Sarah and Dorothy (mentioned above), Michael Harambolous is an experienced solicitor who has joined us on secondment from Victoria Legal Aid to work for the remainder of this year on our Supporting Justice project alongside Stan Winford. 

Kate Ottrey has come on board on secondment from the Victorian Office of Public Prosecutions to take on the role of Student Program Manager, supervising our JD placements and coordinating the 2019 New York Study Tour.

Kate and Michael are taking over roles previously filled by our wonderful colleague Anna Howard, who has gone off on parental leave – we would like to welcome new CIJ baby Miriam, and wish Anna and family all the best!

In addition to Michael and Kate, Karen Martin has started as a part time Administrative Officer.


Video Interview with Djirra CEO Antoinette Braybrook 

The next guest in our video interview series for students is Antoinette Braybrook, the Chief Executive of Djirra, and Convenor of the National Family Violence Prevention Legal Services Forum. Antoinette is an Australian leader in the fight against family violence and challenging the system that is imprisoning Aboriginal women at a much higher rate than the general population. 

We asked Antoinette about how she came to the law, her student days, and her passion to make a difference for Aboriginal women. She told us:

“I’m an Aboriginal woman and these issues are very personal to me. I think that my legal training has probably given me some tools to be able to do that much better... I want to make a difference for Aboriginal women.”

We were also delighted with the excellent advice Antoinette shared with our law student viewers, but you’ll have to watch the video to find out what it is!


'Ad hoc' housing for violent perpetrators increases family violence risk

It’s not an easy subject, which is why we were pleased to see the ABC tackling the difficult issue of housing for perpetrators of family violence. Our Associate Director Elena Campbell was featured on ABC Radio’s AM program and ABC News online, talking about this important gap in our response to family violence.

"We've said they're violent, but we're essentially doing nothing to address the risk that they pose and that may, in fact, be escalated by them being out of home."

- Elena Campbell, Associate Director, CIJ


OPCAT treaty provides opportunity for prison monitoring

Our Associate Director Stan Winford and Professor Bronwyn Naylor from GSBL recently published an article in the Australian Journal for Human Rights “Implementing OPCAT through prison monitoring: the relevance of rehabilitation”. In it, they observe that Australia’s ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Punishment (OPCAT) requires the establishment of comprehensive monitoring frameworks, and suggest that the scope of such monitoring should extend to ‘the rehabilitative culture’ of prisons.


Reversing the trend of mass incarceration – do prisons have a role? 

Although Victoria’s crime rate is falling, our prison population continues to grow, with corrections spending outstripping every other area of service delivery. In the context of other, global movements away from mass incarceration, particularly in the US, our Associate Director Stan Winford takes a look at what can be done readily, and in the short term, to ease the growth in prison numbers in Victoria.

CIJ out and about

Coming up are the following CIJ speaking engagements:

16 May – PIPA, Western Health.  Speaker: Elena Campbell
22 May – NTV Ending Men’s Family Violence Conference. Speaker: Rob Hulls and Elena Campbell
28 May – RMIT twilight seminar – 5.30-7pm (on Woor Dungin). Speaker: Stan Winford

20-21 June – Fisheries Crime Prevention Conference ‘'Restorative Justice: what is it, and what opportunities might restorative approaches offer for Fisheries organisations?' Speaker: Stan Winford
24-28 June – New York Study Tour. Rob Hulls and Kate Ottrey
25 - 27 June – Reintegration Puzzle Conference Darwin. Speaker: Stan Winford

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
Click here to subscribe to this newsletter
Copyright © 2019 Centre for Innovative Justice, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can
update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list