Edition #25

It’s been another busy year at the CIJ, as our mission to improve the justice system keeps on expanding. 2019 brought with it new student opportunities, areas of research, projects, team members, and partnerships. It also brought us to a new office in RMIT’s Social Innovation Hub – a concept that brings together some of RMIT’s most innovative and game-changing organisations under the one roof.

Along with our new digs, some other key highlights for the year include:
Our continued growth has helped to strengthen our mission: to work towards creating a justice system that is a positive intervention in people’s lives. In this regard, we know that change can be slow, but that it is possible, and necessary. As we reflect on the year that has been, and look towards 2020, I am confident that the work of the CIJ will continue to have a positive impact; for our students, our partners in the university, government and legal sectors, and for those with lived experience of the justice system. We’d like to thank everyone we’ve worked with this year and wish you all a safe and happy festive season. 

-    Rob Hulls, Director, CIJ

Voices for Justice participants graduate with flying colours!

The inaugural Voices for Justice training program has wrapped up on a high as our first round of self-advocates took part in a graduation ceremony at the CIJ earlier this week.

At the ceremony each of the graduates presented to an audience of their peers, family and friends, members of the justice sector and CIJ and SARU staff. Graduates shared their stories of their ABI, involvement with the justice system, and how the Voices for Justice training had helped to give them the confidence to speak out and help others to improve the justice system for people with mental illness and disability.


Supporting Justice website now live!

After nine months in development, we are proud to announce that the Supporting Justice website is now up and running. The website provides practical resources for court and legal professionals to better respond to people with disability in the criminal justice system.

The CIJ partnered with design firm Paper Giant and engaged in a co-design process with people with lived experience of disability and the criminal justice system as well as professionals from the justice sector.

Planning is in process for a formal launch early in 2020, but in the meantime, you can find out more about the site here. You can also catch a great interview with CIJ's Stan Winford via the media section at the bottom of this newsletter.

New project with Djirra

The CIJ is embarking on an exciting new collaboration with Djirra and PWC’s Indigenous Consulting to develop a model and plan for implementation of a residential program for Aboriginal women in Victoria. The Aboriginal Women’s Residential Program Feasibility Study has been commissioned by the Victorian Government’s Koori Justice Unit with Djirra as the lead agency. This project is an exciting step closer to a much-needed and discussed program; one of the goals of the current Aboriginal Justice Agreement Burra Lotjpa Dunguludja (“Senior Leaders Talking Strong”). 

The project will also be a leading example of ethical research with Aboriginal people, respecting and enacting Aboriginal sovereignty and modelling culturally appropriate ways of engaging with Aboriginal participants and stakeholders. Elena Campbell will lead the CIJ team for this project, supported by Tallace Bissett, Riley Ellard and Jasmine Ali.

New resource on perpetrator intervention systems 

Building on our earlier work, the CIJ team has collaborated with Stopping Family Violence, the peak body for men’s behaviour change programs in WA, to produce ‘Foundations for Domestic and Family Violence Perpetrator Intervention Systems’.

The primary purpose of this resource is to bring together and articulate the complexity inherent in perpetrator intervention systems in a way that individuals who develop, work in and influence systems can consider, build upon and use.

Featuring hypothetical case studies and considerations of emerging approaches both in Australia and overseas, the paper’s aim is to support governments, policy developers and researchers to establish what is needed to facilitate the development of perpetrator intervention systems which can function as genuine systems, rather than as a series of discrete or siloed interventions.

Elena Campbell would particularly like to thank Rodney Vlais for the expertise, insight and compassion he has continually brought to this work. You can access the full report, and the earlier work it is built upon here.

Improving court responses to family violence perpetrators with complex needs

This year Elena Campbell and Rodney Vlais, with the invaluable assistance of Danny Blay, have been working with the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria (MCV) to design an initiative which seeks to improve the court’s response to perpetrators of family violence with particularly complex needs. This design process identified an opportunity to improve the court’s capacity to develop detailed information about the risk a perpetrator poses, as well any complex needs a perpetrator may have. Rather than be confined to one jurisdiction, this opportunity lies across both civil and criminal contexts in Specialist Family Violence Courts, thereby strengthening the court’s capacity to respond more effectively regardless of jurisdiction. 

Conducting detailed consultations with Magistrates, court staff, allied service providers, specialist and men’s family violence case management providers, the CIJ team has developed a draft Guidance for the MCV which is interrelated and builds on work conducted last year in developing a single model for a Court Mandated Counselling Order Program. The Risk & Needs Assessment Practice Team will be piloted at Ballarat Magistrates’ Court in 2020 as part of the expanded specialist family violence team there, and we look forward with great interest to its early outcomes. 

Victim Services & Child Witness Service Reviews

The CIJ is in the final reporting phase of Stage 2 of its review of services for victims of crime, commissioned by Victim Services, Support and Reform (VSSR) within the Department of Justice and Community Safety (DJCS). Building on the first stage of the review the CIJ team has been working alongside our partners KPMG to develop a leading practice service model which reflects what victims told us they needed following their experience of crime.


Reforming system responses to adolescent family violence

While we await final release of the PIPA Report – due for publication imminently and to be launched in Tasmania, Victoria and WA early next year, Associate Director Elena Campbell has been busy working with stakeholders, both service provision and policy focused, on steps towards associated reform. 

Throughout 2019 Elena has worked with Drummond Street Services to conduct workshops in local service areas bringing relevant providers together to consider options for integrated responses to adolescent violence in the home. She has also presented to cross-government working groups and to workshops of interstate and international researchers. 

Next year looks like being an even busier one as we take the findings of the PIPA report on the road and bring its message that a ‘one size fits all response’ to adolescent violence in the home needs to be replaced with a coordinated suite of genuinely positive interventions.

There'll be more details about a formal launch and report release in the new year
Summer Semester begins!

Eight RMIT JD students have begun their Clinical Legal Education placements for the Summer Semester. This includes two students working for the first time with our new co-located partners at Youthlaw. This opportunity has come about after Youthlaw joined the CIJ in November at RMIT's Social Innovation Hub. The new partnership gives RMIT JD students the opportunity to assist some of Victoria’s most disadvantaged young people to obtain legal assistance.

Social work and financial counselling students attended the induction day with the JD students at the CIJ, starting a conversation about how different professions can work together to benefit clients. Each of the placement providers for the Summer Semester – the Law and Advocacy Centre for Women, the Mental Health Legal Centre and Youthlaw – operate multidisciplinary practices, where lawyers and social workers (and, in the case of MHLC, financial counsellors as well) work together to solve a wider range of client issues. 
Where Are They Now?

Kate O'Connor finished the RMIT Juris Doctor in 2014. The CIJ had a chat with her to see what she's been up to since.

When did you graduate, what have you been up to since then?
I graduated in 2014. I started at ASIC (the corporate regulator) as a graduate in 2015 and worked there until the end of 2017. In 2018 I moved into private practice, working as a lawyer in the disputes team at Ashurst, working primarily on the Banking Royal Commission. In May this year, I returned to ASIC. I currently work in Enforcement, which involves investigating and litigating corporate misconduct.


Turning Aboriginal men's lives around at Wulgunggo Ngalu Learning Place

The latest episode of our Talking Innovative Justice podcast features Shaun Braybrook, General Manager of Wulgunggo Ngalu Learning Place

Wulgunggo Ngalu is a diversionary residential facility for Aboriginal men aged over 18 who are on Community Corrections Orders. It provides the men with life skills and cultural connections to help steer them away from entering, or going back, to the prison system. The success rate is remarkable - 75% of men who complete the program complete their CCOs.

"What we do works, strengthening cultural connections and cultural identity works."
- Shaun Braybrook

You can hear more of Rob and Shaun's conversation about Wulgunggo Ngalu via the link below.


CIJ team at ANZSOC Conference

In mid-December, members of the CIJ team attended the 2019 Australia and New Zealand Society of Criminology (ANZSOC) conference in Perth. This year’s theme ‘Justice Reimagined’ encouraged conference delegates to consider the potential intersections between academia, government, industry and the community in preventing and responding to crime.

CIJ Director Rob Hulls gave a keynote speech on understanding the pathway from victim to offender. The speech reminded conference delegates that the failure to put appropriate services around victims of crime can make them vulnerable to becoming offenders. Mr Hulls warned against the compassion bypass that victims-come-offenders experience once they traverse this ‘unbridgeable divide’. 

The Supporting Justice team of Stan Winford, Michael Haralambous, Dorothy Armstrong and Paper Giant's Kate Goodwin presented a session promoting the online resource, exploring how the project embedded lived experience and human centred design. 

The conference provided an important opportunity for CIJ staff to meet with academics and sector workers from across Australia and New Zealand and to promote the innovative work of the Centre.

Interview with CIJ's Stan Winford on Supporting Justice 

Kate Goodwin from our design partner Paper Giant sat down with CIJ Associate Director Stan Winford to discuss the Supporting Justice project's approach to co-design and user centred design processes. 

In the conversation, Stan told Kate that the process was more than just working with sticky notes and great visuals - it's about changing the system so that fewer people with ABI end up in prison.

"If we want the justice system to work better, then something needs to change. And to us, the obvious missing element was the perspective of the people closest to the problem," he said.

An edited version of the interview "Disability and the criminal justice system: Designing with people closest to the problem" has been published on Paper Giant's blog.
CIJ out & about

Here are some recent and up-coming CIJ speaking engagements:

29 October - Working with Perpetrators at Court #1 Judicial College of Victoria - Elena Campbell
14 November - Working with Perpetrators at Court #2 Judicial College of Victoria - Elena Campbell
15 November - 'What would an ethical corrections system look like?' session at ANU Policy Dialogue - Stan Winford
22 November - Law and Justice Development Community of Practice, Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU Canberra - Stan Winford
26 November - Front line responses to perpetrators, Victoria Police Academy - Elena Campbell

28 November - Victims Assistance Program, Presentation on Victims’ Services Review - Elena Campbell
4 December - Findings from the PIPA Report, Family Safety Victoria - Elena Campbell
9 – 10 December - International Workshop on Adolescent family violence, Melbourne - Elena Campbell
10 - 13 Dec – Australian & New Zealand Society of Criminology Conference, Perth. Speakers: Rob Hulls, Stan Winford, Michael Haralambous, Dorothy Armstrong
16 January 2020 - Panellist at the National Colloquium on Access to Justice 2020, Sarawak, Malaysia - Stan Winford
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