Royal Commission endoreses Neigbhourhood Justice Centre's approach

Over the years, the Neighbourhood Justice Centre has developed a range of practices and services to assist the women who attend court for family violence matters.

These services were endorsed by the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence, and recommended other courts adopt them.

These services are the Centre's:

  • Online intervention order application
  • ‘One-stop-shop’ service delivery model
  • Triage process
  • Security processes.

Online intervention order application (External link)

In an Australian first, the NJC created a simple, secure online Family Violence Intervention application form.

With FVIO Online applicants apply of an intervention order when and where it suits their safety needs best.

The system flags high risk applications, which improves the court's response to serious events.

Additionally, as it comes with background information, users have reported to us that it improves people's understanding of their rights, and what behaviour constitutes family violence.

This service improves court efficiency, and can save applicants the time impost and costs of at least one court visit.

FVIO Online is in pilot at the Hamilton, Portland, Ringwood, Sunshine, Warrnambool and Werribee Magistrates’ Courts.

'One-stop-shop' service delivery

Around 15 treatment and support services operate at the Neighbourhood Justice Centre. 

Working as an integrated and multi-disciplinary unit, Client Services provides clients with therapeutic and practical assistance.  

  • Victims assistance and counselling programs
  • Specialist women's support services 
  • Intervention Response Team, comprising Registry, mediation coordinator, and case worker/counsellor
  • Support and care on the day (provided by Court Network and Salvation Army chaplain).
  • Legal advice and advocacy services
  • Newly arrived/refugee victims of trauma support services.

Applicants receive immediate assistance, with plans and follow up assistance organised before anyone leaves the building.

Benefits of this one-stop-shop approach include:

  • Applicants and respondents receive immediate assistance.
  • Women are safe, despite being in close proximity to the respondent 
  • Wrap-around services is a key reason we have never had a serious incident
  • Legal representatives have confidence that the psycho-social needs of their clients are attended to
  • Service providers transfer knowledge thereby filling services gaps, the knock-on effect is more efficient and effective service delivery.

Family violence/personal safety triage

The Centre prepares for Monday's family violence matters list as thoroughly as possible. 

The Friday before, the senior registrar, senior case worker, and mediation coordinator triage the list, to ensure everything in place to meet the highly complex needs of clients.. 

Preparation includes:

  • Allocating services required 
  • Plans to manage high risk respondents and matters where parties are known to the court
  • Alerting security to plan for what to expect on FV/PS dayS
  • Measuring patterns of behaviour to develop services well in advance.

Triage concludes on Monday morning with the inclusion of any intervention orders that come in over the weekend at added to the plan.

Security measures

Guard services

Court security works differently at this centre.

  • Upon request, security escorts women to and from the building, and around the court
  • Women can enter the building via a security protected private entrance
  • One member of the security is always on patrol, and will travel through the building (including offices and secure spaces) and around the perimeter.
  • A member of the team is always on the court floor.
  • The team works with counsellors/case workers to respond to anti-social behaviour before things escalate.

Secure rooms

Applicants who need additional protection use of ‘quiet rooms’.

Accessible to staff only, these rooms serve to separate applicants from respondents. Women use the rooms to meet their lawyers, complete paperwork, and the rooms are near the private entrance to assist applicants enter and leave the building safely.

 

For more information 

Phone 61+ (03) 9948 8777

Email: info@courts.vic.gov.au (External link) (External link) (External link) (External link)

Visit us at 41 Wellington Street, Collingwood

Opening hours Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

 

Artwork: Dolls In Arms by Aileen Kerr