What started as an idea to improve service delivery grew into a royal commission recommendation and won gold for the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria.

The Neighbourhood Justice Centre (NJC) is delighted that the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria’s (MCV) online family violence intervention order application form recently won the prestigious 2020 Good Design Australia award for design innovation for social impact.

What is now the MCV's online family violence intervention order application grew out of a challenge the Department of Justice put to the Neighbourhood Justice Centre: provide applicants with a way to apply for an intervention order online and save them at least one trip to court. 

That was in 2013. Following two years of development, in 2015 the NJC launched Australia’s first online family violence intervention order application form in the City of Yarra.

In December that year, the NJC won $365,00 in funding from the Public Sector Innovation Fund, Department of Premier and Cabinet to further develop and roll out the form to four additional Magistrates’ Courts. The NJC also obtained funding from the Commonwealth Government to support the rollout.

In March 2016 the Royal Commission into Family Violence commended the NJC’s online form and recommended that MCV adopt the model across all of Victoria’s Magistrates’ Courts.

Louise Bassett, NJC’s Manager, Strategy & Innovation oversaw development of the online form, and says the award validates the social impact that courts can achieve when they see services through their clients’ eyes.

“From the beginning, we set out to develop a system that met the operational needs of the court but had, at its centre, the specific needs of victim-survivors of family violence.

We collaborated with the experts, most importantly women who’d been through the justice system who understood what the concerns were for applicants and could point out how to improve the system.

A number of women told us that they wouldn’t have applied for an intervention order without the online form – this tells us how critical it is to work with the community when designing services so we understand the impact the system has on them.”

The endorsement of the Royal Commission into Family Violence was a tremendous moment, and we’re just as thrilled to see the online form recognised again for its social impact.” Louise Bassett says.

Promoting excellence in design and innovation since 1958, the annual Good Design Awards program is one of the oldest and most prestigious international design awards in the world.

The online family violence intervention order application form launched state-wide in August 2020.

From the kernel of an idea, anyone can now apply online for a family violence intervention order (External link) without having to attend court, and do so at the time and place that suits their safety needs best.