Edition #19
Seasons Greetings & 2018 reflection
It’s hard to believe that the CIJ celebrated its fifth anniversary this year. Since we started back in 2013 we’ve worked hard to bring innovative thinking and a collaborative approach in our quest to transform the justice system into one that it is a positive intervention for those who come into contact with it.  While the mission of the CIJ remains fundamentally the same, we have grown in ways that we could only have dreamed about five years ago. It is timely to reflect on the early vision for the Centre as set out in this old video (when I had a lot more hair!)

A highlight for 2018 has been our expanding work in the restorative justice space. We have been working closely with the TAC and Worksafe to embed restorative justice practices within their organisations. This will be a focus of much of our work for next year, with a view to establishing a Restorative Justice Centre of Excellence within the CIJ in the near future.

This year we have also been involved with two prestigious awards - an Australian Philanthropy Award for the Woor-Dungin-lead Criminal Records Discrimination Project, and a Victorian Disability Award for Dorothy Armstrong for her advocacy work on our Enabling Justice project. Always an honour to see recognition rightly bestowed!

Other highlights have included our big booked out public event with former PM Julia Gillard during the week of the leadership turmoil in Canberra (how's that for timing!), our study tour visiting Melbourne's innovative courts, and the launch of our new website

More generally, the life-changing opportunities we offer to students now include clinical placements, our annual study tour and the innovative justice subject (now a core subject in the RMIT JD). Our multi-disciplinary practice with our co-located partners continues to expand. The impact of our research is being felt right across the justice system, with award-winning work resulting in criminal convictions being removed from Aboriginal children taken from their families, our on-going research into the experiences of people with an ABI embroiled in the justice system, and the expertise we have built in the family violence space.

It’s been another productive year for the Centre and we know we are making a difference. The CIJ would like to thank the students, collaborators and networks who have connected with us during the year, and wish everybody a great break!

- Rob Hulls, CIJ Director

Improving justice responses to mental ill health & disability

The CIJ is embarking on a new phase of its work with people with mental illness and disability in the justice system. The Supporting Justice project will build on our groundbreaking 2017 Enabling Justice report, produced in partnership with Jesuit Social Services, which focused on the over-representation of people with Acquired Brain Injury in the justice system.

Included in the new phase of work, commissioned by the Department of Health and Human Services, is a project where the CIJ will design a tool to assist courts and legal professionals to better support people who are in contact with the justice system and who are also engaged with the National Disability Insurance Scheme. The online resource will better link up services, and help to ensure people with a cognitive impairment, autism-spectrum disorder or dual disability do not experience discrimination and continue to have their human rights upheld.

This work is in its early stages but will ramp up in early 2019, when the CIJ will engage professionals from the criminal justice and disability support sectors, as well as people with lived experience of disability who have had contact with the justice system.


Women transforming justice & women’s decarceration agenda

The CIJ has been asked to conduct an evaluation of the Women Transforming Justice project (‘WTJ’). This crucial project is funded by the Legal Services Board and over the next 12 months, will provide gender-informed legal assistance specifically to women seeking bail and then follow up case management and other support to women either while they are in custody or in the community.

WTJ is a collaboration between Darebin Community Legal Centre, the Law and Advocacy Centre for Women (LACW) and Flat Out, and recognises the very particular needs of a growing cohort within our community: women on remand – as well as the disproportionate impacts that recent bail and other legislative reforms have had on women and their children.


Consent orders

In response to the evidence that the majority of Family Violence Intervention Orders (FVIOs) are made ‘by consent’, the Royal Commission into Family Violence recommended (Rec 77) that further research investigate the negotiation process for the conditions of FVIOs by consent and develop recommendations for a safe, supported negotiation process. The CIJ is currently in the preliminary stages of that research, writing a literature review, conducting court observations and some early interviews and focus groups.


A Study of Victims' Experiences and Communication Needs

The Office of Public Prosecutions commissioned CIJ to undertake research aimed at enhancing victim participation in the criminal trial process. As part of this research, CIJ conducted interviews with OPP staff (including lawyers and social workers) and 18 victims of crime.

Stan Winford and Mary Polis presented a pre-publication summary of CIJ's research report to the Office of Public Prosecutions entitled Communicating with Victims about Plea Resolutions: A Study of Victims' Experiences and Communication Needs to the Victims of Crime Consultative Committee, Department of Justice representatives the Solicitor for Public Prosecutions and senior OPP staff on 27 November 2018. The report is likely to launched by the OPP early in 2019.

Innovative justice subject & teaching award

Our Associate Director Stan Winford and Professor Bronwyn Naylor have jointly received an award from the RMIT Graduate School of Business and Law for developing and teaching the subject Innovative Justice during 2018 and for receiving excellent student feedback on the subject.

Where are they now?

The CIJ catches up with past RMIT Juris Doctor students to find out what they're up to now

Frank Aloe completed the RMIT JD in 2016. We had a chat with him to see what he's been up to since.

When did you graduate, what have you been up to since then? 
I graduated the RMIT JD in 2016.  I completed my practical legal training over the course of 2017 and was admitted as a lawyer in December that year.

CIJ at the Australian & New Zealand Society of Criminology conference

On Thursday 6 December CIJ staff turned out in force to present a snapshot of our work to those attending the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology conference at the University of Melbourne. Rob gave an overview of the CIJ’s history and then invited the CIJ panellists - Anna Howard, Stan Winford, Elena Campbell, Jessica Richter and Nareeda Lewers – to speak about the projects they are involved in. The audience actively engaged with the presenters and the session evolved into a wide-ranging discussion of the issues the CIJ’s work focuses on. Feedback from audience members included, ‘that was the highlight of the conference,’ and, ‘I feel so inspired to hear about the work you’re doing – it’s exciting.’
Curing violence: How we can become a less violent society

The UK's Centre for Justice Innovation recently released a book about reducing violence in society and the CIJ's Elena Campbell and Rob Hulls were asked to contribute a chapter about what measures can be brought into view to reduce family violence.

The Time is Ripe: The Case for both a Federal and New South Wales Human Rights Act

Early December marked 70 years since New South Welshman Doc Evatt presided over the signing of the most significant human rights charter in the world – the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To observe this historic achievement on the global stage, the CIJ was invited by the NSW Bar Association to take part in a panel discussion about human rights charters in Australia.

Our Director Rob Hulls joined the Human Rights Law Centre's Hugh De Kretser and ACT Human Rights Commissioner Dr Helen Watchirs to discuss how to progress the campaigns for human rights charters both federally and in NSW, particularly with elections in both jurisdictions in the first half of next year.

With Queensland embarking on its own charter journey, our hope is for increased momentum going forward!
Making irrelevant convictions history

Our involvement with the Woor-Dungin Criminal Records Discrimination project has been highlighted with a full-page article in this RMIT publication that celebrates impactful research, featuring our Associate Director Stan Winford and Professor Bronwyn Naylor from the Graduate School of Business and Law.

A European alternative approach to juvenile detention 

Diagrama is an international non-profit organisation that pioneered an alternative juvenile detention model in Spain, building relatively small-scale residential facilities that they call ‘re-education centres’. The centres operated by Diagrama are wholly focused on educating young people and preparing them for release, supporting them to gain the social and formal skills needed to obtain employment and re-integrate into their local communities.


Focus on women's incarceration & family violence

Our Associate Director Elena Campbell has recently featured as an expert in two in-depth articles by ABC journalist Hayley Gleeson that shine a spotlight on the issues of family violence, women's incarceration and homelessness. Click on the links below to access the full stories:

'Alarming' number of women forced to move out of the Gatwick for The Block are now in jail

"This is not a new issue, it's not a blip. We know that housing is the issue that can make the biggest difference for women who are at risk of offending or reoffending" - Elena Campbell.

ABC News 21 Nov 2018

The only way violent men can change is if they want to

"You can go to a two-hour [behaviour change] session and have as many 'breakthroughs' as you like" - Elena Campbell.

ABC News, 25 Nov 2018

CIJ out and about

24 Jan – Aotearoa Alcohol and other Drug Treatment Courts Conference. Speaker: Rob Hulls
08 Feb – Understanding Crime and Rural Communities, Federation Uni. Speaker: Rob Hulls
20 Feb – Engaging for Impact, RMIT University. Speaker: Rob Hulls

26 Feb – WA Legal Aid ‘Innovation in the legal sector’. Speaker: Rob Hulls
TBC March – Minter Ellison. Speaker: Rob Hulls 
10-13 Dec – Australia & New Zealand Society of Criminology Conference, WA. Speaker: Rob Hulls
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