The Neighbourhood Justice Centre today celebrated its 10th anniversary of supporting the local community at a special event at the Melba Speigeltent in Collingwood.
Since the centre opened its doors a decade ago, it has worked with local organisations and community members to tackle justice, crime and safety issues in the City of Yarra.
Opened in 2007 by then Attorney-General Rob Hulls under the former Bracks Labor Government, the Neighbourhood Justice Centre was Australia’s first and only community justice centre.
Today, the centre delivers a range of holistic on-site services including access to victims’ support, mediation, specialised mental health assistance, drug and alcohol treatment, counselling, housing support, Koori support services and legal advice.
The centre operates the Neighbourhood Justice Centre Court, which hears matters from a range of jurisdictions including the Magistrates’ Court, Children’s Court, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal and the Victims of Crime Tribunal.
Criminal proceedings before the court focus on rehabilitation, ensuring that offenders have access to a range of services to help reduce recidivism and support their reintegration into the community.
Today’s event also marks the retirement of Neighbourhood Justice Director Kerry Walker. Ms Walker has been the Director since it opened and has led a range of innovative justice responses.
In 2015 the centre launched an online family violence intervention order application, which was recognised by the Royal Commission into Family Violence.
In 2014 the centre developed a smart phone app called ‘MyCase’, allowing court users to have real-time contact with lawyers, court staff and others related to their case.
Quotes attributable to Parliamentary Secretary for Justice Ben Carroll
“The concept of the Neighbourhood Justice Centre was revolutionary when it first opened in 2007 and it continues to be an international leader in community justice today.”
“The centre helps to make justice more accessible to local community members and we look forward to seeing what the centre will achieve over the next decade.”
“On behalf of the Andrews Labor Government I want to thank Kerry Walker for her extraordinary dedication, leadership and contribution over the past decade.”