As the coronavirus pandemic disrupts our domestic routines, so too it’s causing severe social, emotional and economic harm. It adversely affects those already socially isolated, and is generating a new cohort of people who, for the first time, are disconnected from families, friends and community. Thankfully, community justice shows we can stay united while living apart.

Everyone who works at the NJC is a community justice practitioner, which is why the NJC’s Info Team has stepped up to help residents find emotional support, material aid, and stay connected to family and friends through these difficult times.

Ordinarily in charge of reception and office management, most recently the Info Team been the first point of call for community members triaged to the Centre via the state government’s Covid-19 Community Activation and Social Isolation Initiative (CASI).

Magali Theunissen is one of the team now supporting clients sent to the NJC via CASI says it gives her personal and professional satisfaction to help the community through the coronavirus pandemic.

“I'm helping people who never knew there was a local court in their neighbourhood. I’ve just organised WIFI support for a young student to stay connected to school, and organised grocery deliveries for a man whose disabilities and bad financial situation has him trapped at home. The food was also paid with vouchers I obtained through Yarra Covid-19 Community Response Network, which the NJC set up to coordinate government and local services,” Magali Theunissen said.

Rachel Powning, NJC’s general manager said the role the NJC is playing with CASI illustrates how working with local services enables the court to deliver fast, efficient and coordinated support across its local jurisdiction.

“As a community justice centre we’ve always had great working relations with local services, but the pandemic has brought home the role a court can play when it has deep roots in the community it serves. This experience demonstrates what community justice can do to in prevent social upheaval in times of crisis.

Justice is a helping hand at a time when unity is so essential to our health and public safety.”

Need help?

Phone NJC's CASI Connection Officers on 9948 8613  or email: njc@courts.vic.gov.au (External link)

Opening hours 9am – 5pm. Monday to Friday