Welcome to the first edition for 2017.  CIJ is off to a busy start to the year with success in securing both research grants and commissioned work, the development of an exciting program of student opportunities and events, numerous speaking requests for conferences and forums, and of course the ongoing work on our current research projects.

Read on for all the latest CIJ news.

Youth Justice

There has been a lot happening in the youth justice space over the past couple of months, both here in Victoria and in the Northern Territory, with the Royal Commission into Youth Detention in the Northern Territory now in full swing.  Stan Winford, author of our submission to the Royal Commission, was invited to attend a round table in Alice Springs convened by Commissioner Gooda and Comissioner White to explore opportunities for diversion and alternatives to youth detention that could be implemented within the Northern Territory’s youth justice system.  Stan also authored a blog on this issue last year and a copy of our submission to the Royal Commission can be found here.

Research with Impact - Family Violence


Positive Interventions for Perpetrators of Adolescent Violence in the Home (PIPA)Project 

Following on from its identification of this crucial issue, echoed by the Royal Commission, the CIJ was successful in being granted funding by Australian National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) to conduct the PIPA Project (Positive Interventions for Perpetrators of AVITH – Adolescent Violence in the Home). This project is a two year, multijurisdictional project examining prevalence, demographics, and responses to adolescent violence in the home across Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia. The project will also follow the implementation of the Royal Commission recommendations regarding AVITH through a Steering Committee of high level representatives from the justice and youth services sector.

PIPA Forum

As part of the project CIJ will be conducting a series of public forums in Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania to raise awareness of the issue and to engage the public; to report on preliminary findings; and at the completion of the project to encourage ongoing collaboration. These forums will be recorded as podcasts to facilitate access for other jurisdictions.

PIPA Student Opportunity

RMIT JD and Masters of Social Work students will have the opportunity to contribute to this cutting edge research and integrate the work into their degree. Using a multidisciplinary approach and under the supervision of the CIJ, two JD students and two Master of Social Work students will undertake collaborative research, which will involve case file reviews and observations at the Melbourne Children's Court. While most of this work will occur in Semester 2, the selected students will be required to undertake some preparatory work, including attendance at some events, during Semester 1. Applications are now open and must be received by 31 March 2017. Interested students should contact Anna Howard on for more information.

Family Violence Intervention Orders – User Testing of Standard Conditions

In anticipation of the Royal Commission’s recommendation the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria sought the CIJ’s assistance with the revision of the standard conditions of its family violence IVOs. After extensive consultations with internal and external stakeholders, the CIJ has now proceeded to user testing the conditions with focus groups of perpetrators (linked with Men’s Behaviour Change Programs) and victims (linked in with specialist services). This work will then inform the finalisation of the new standard conditions. 

Perpetrator Journey Mapping

In late 2016 the CIJ was commissioned by the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) to start to map the journey of family violence perpetrators as the service system becomes aware of their behaviour. This work has informed the early work of the Expert Committee on Perpetrator Interventions, as well as  the Victorian Premier’s 10 Year Action Plan, released in November. The CIJ conducted research and consultations around a range of service areas and identified numerous opportunities for intervention and scrutiny.  In 2017 the CIJ has now embarked on a more extensive phase of this work, part of which will support the implementation of Recommendation 85 by the Royal Commission to map the roles and responsibilities of agencies in relation to perpetrator interventions. 
Meta evaluation of Perpetrator Interventions
The CIJ is also a partner in this national study of perpetrator intervention and engagement right across the service system. The project, which is also funded by ANROWS, is a collaboration with Curtin University, Griffith University, University of NSW and University of Western Sydney. The role of the CIJ is to provide two case studies – one tracking a local region’s response to perpetrators overall, and another tracking a separate region’s approach to outreach and engagement with perpetrators after they first come into contact with police.

Restorative Justice and Family Violence
The CIJ’s Mark Madden is leading a consultation program in partnership with the Department of Justice and Regulation on a framework and a pilot program for the delivery of restorative justice options for victims of family violence. The development of a framework and pilot was a recommendation of the Royal Commission into Family Violence.

Student Opportunities

Law and Social Work Dual Qualification
RMIT is pleased to announce a unique innovation in postgraduate education, providing an opportunity for students to complete the Master of Social Work and Juris Doctor programs concurrently, in three years full time. Designed for students with a passion for social change, this opportunity responds to the increasing integration between legal and welfare sectors, preparing students for careers which require in-depth legal knowledge and an understanding of complex social issues, as well as skilled advocacy and high level interpersonal skills.

Students enrol in both programs side by side, and classes are offered face-to-face in the evenings, as well as online or in intensive delivery modes over weekends. Students also undertake social work field education in legal settings.

For more information, click here or contact Dr Chris Maylea at

Clinical Legal Education 2017

Clinical Legal Education is all about learning practical skills, helping people to access justice, and coming up with real solutions and strategies to address legal problems.  Last year, we offered Clinical Legal Education to students in every semester, including summer. We have had some excellent feedback from students about their experiences, and this year promises to be just as interesting and rewarding with a choice of two options for students with the Mental Health Legal Centre and the Neighbourhood Justice Centre.

The Mental Health Legal Centre (MHLC) is a specialist Community Legal Centre that focuses on assisting people with co-occurring mental health and legal issues. Based at RMIT University Building 97, MHLC delivers a range of legal assistance services including an evening telephone legal advice service, an outreach legal advice service in conjunction with the Royal District Nursing Service Homeless Persons Project. MHLC also coordinates representation for people on involuntary treatment orders before the Mental Health Tribunal in conjunction with pro bono lawyers and law firms.  
The Mental Health Legal Centre also operates Inside Access, a program that provides legal services to people with cognitive impairment and mental health issues detained in Victorian prisons and forensic mental health facilities.  During the semester students will be working with Inside Access staff, trained social workers and social work students as part of the multi-disciplinary practice, and visiting the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre, a Victorian women’s prison in Deer Park.
The Neighbourhood Justice Centre (NJC) was established in 2007 by then Attorney-General and now CIJ Director, Rob Hulls and is Australia’s only community justice centre. It is a multi-jurisdictional court located in Collingwood, Melbourne, and serves the City of Yarra. Through bringing together a multi-jurisdictional court with a wide array of support services and community initiatives, the NJC aims to resolve disputes and offending by addressing the underlying causes of harmful behaviour and tackling social disadvantage.  
In conjunction with the Centre for Innovative Justice, the NJC has established a Fines Assist Clinic, supervised by a lawyer and staffed by Clinical Legal Education students and financial counselling students from RMIT. This clinic will operate from the NJC in Wellington Street, Collingwood. Students will take instructions from people who visit the NJC and work with the financial counselling students under the supervision of a lawyer to help them address their fines and infringements and students will have the opportunity to do some advocacy before the court on behalf of their clients.
2017 Study Tour to New Zealand
The CIJ will once again develop and lead a study tour to New Zealand for JD students.  The study tour will involve observing specialist youth, mental health, drug, homeless and Maori Rangatahi Youth Justice Courts  and speaking to the presiding Judges, as well as attending a workshop on restorative justice conferences and other interesting innovations.  The pre-requisite for students enrolling in this elective will be Introduction to the Australian Legal System and Legal Methods. The study tour course outline can be found here and you can view the student's feedback from the last NZ Study Tour below.
The study tour will be scheduled for approximately one week commencing Monday 28 August (mid semester break).  JD students, please keep an eye out for the expression of interest requests.
Taster Placements and CIJ Calendar of Activities
The CIJ has developed a brochure on the exciting Taster Placement opportunities available to JD students in 2017 along with a calendar of activities, to allow interested students to plan ahead for these opportunities.  You can view a copy of the brochure here

CIJ Events  

Justice: Past, Present & Future

As part of Law Week, the CIJ will be hosting an event in the historic Old Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 17th May with special guests Barrister Brian Bourke and Magistrate Pauline Spencer, who will share their first hand experience of the Australian justice system, past and present, and their vision for the future.  The forum will be MC’d by Rob Hulls.  Register your interest by sending us an email here.

JD 10th Anniversary Celebration 

2017 year marks the 10th Anniversary of the RMIT Juris Doctor Program.  Plans are underway for a fitting celebration so keep an eye out for updates!

CIJ in the media

People in the legal profession experience higher rates of depression than most other professions.  Rob recently spoke to former Federal Court Judge, Shane Marshall, who has been outspoken about his experiences with mental illness and has some good advice for law students and the profession in general. Click the image below to watch the video.

CIJ out and about

Coming up for 2017 are the following CIJ speaking engagements:

07 March – Neighbourhood Justice Centre 10th Anniversary – Speaker: Rob Hulls

21 March  – JSS Youth Justice Symposium Focus: what we can do to influence govt and key decision makers for better approaches – Speaker: Rob Hulls
22 March  – Utilising data for evidence-based policy Focus: Risk in policies being set despite lack of evidence/data – Speaker: Rob Hulls

05 April  – LEAP program speech (program aimed at high school students in low SES & regional)
6-8 April  – Non-Adversarial Justice Conference – Park Royal, Darking Harbour – Speakers: Rob Hulls, Stan Winford, Nareeda Lewers
15 May  – Law Week Talk for VLF – Speaker: Rob Hulls.  Y11 students from underprivileged schools.

6-8 June  – NTCOSS Conference, Darwin – Theme: turning practice on its head – Speaker:  Rob Hulls
26 July  – Metropolitan Law Talks – Speaker:  Rob Hulls

Centre Staff

The CIJ staff are left to right:
Elena Campbell -Associate Director, Research, Advocacy & Policy, Rob Hulls - Director, Mark Madden - Deputy Director, Mina Hilson - Centre Coordinator, Naomi Pfitzner - Project Coordinator, PIPA Project, Nareeda Lewers - Project Officer, Restorative Justice Project, Cordelia Rice - Admin Officer, Research and Policy, Stan Winford - Associate Director, Research Innovation and Reform, Kat Ogilvie - Social Worker, Anna Howard - Project Coordinator, ABI Project and Volunteer and Placement Coordinator.  Missing from the picture is Heidi Phillips - Admin Officer.
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