This article The Neighbourhood Justice Centre in Collingwood: A Model of Community-Oriented Justice is written by Emma Turnbull, Director, Emma Turnbull Lawyers, Specialist Criminal Lawyer.
A passionate and fearless advocate, Emma appears regularly in all courts across the Victorian criminal law jurisdiction defending clients charged with any level of crime; from driving offences to homicide. Emma is the managing partner of the firm and prides herself on sharing her wealth of experience and knowledge in a way that her staff and clients can easily comprehend.
Introduction: The Neighbourhood Justice Centre (NJC) in Collingwood stands as a beacon of innovative and community-focused justice. Located in the heart of Melbourne’s inner-city, this pioneering institution has redefined the traditional concept of a courthouse by integrating a range of services to address not only legal issues but also the social and emotional well-being of the community it serves.
Origin and Purpose
Established in 2007, the Neighbourhood Justice Centre was the first of its kind in Australia. It emerged as a response to the growing recognition that conventional court processes often fell short in addressing the complex issues affecting individuals and communities. The NJC aimed to bridge the gap between the justice system and community needs by taking a holistic approach to justice.
- Multi-Disciplinary Approach: At the heart of the Neighbourhood Justice Centre is its multi-disciplinary team, which includes legal professionals, social workers, health workers, and support staff. This team collaborates to provide integrated services that address both the legal and social aspects of a person’s life. This includes on-site offices of Victoria Legal Aid, the Fitzroy Legal
- Community Engagement: The NJC actively engages with the local community through various programs and initiatives. It seeks to involve the community in shaping the justice process and addressing the root causes of crime.
- Holistic Services: Beyond traditional legal proceedings, the NJC offers a range of support services, including mediation, counselling, drug and alcohol treatment, mental health support, and housing assistance.
- Problem-Solving Courts: The NJC hosts specialized courts, such as the Family Violence Court and the Neighbourhood Community Justice Court, which focus on specific issues prevalent in the community, providing tailored interventions seeking to support vulnerable members of the community.
Benefits of the Neighbourhood Justice Centre
- Reduced Recidivism: The NJC’s approach to addressing the underlying causes of criminal behaviour, such as addiction and mental health issues, has been effective in reducing recidivism rates among participants.
- Community Empowerment: By actively involving the community in justice processes, the NJC fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility, leading to greater community cohesion and safety.
- Cost-Efficiency: The NJC’s approach to addressing the root causes of crime has the potential to reduce the burden on the criminal justice system and public resources in the long term.
- Restorative Justice: The NJC’s restorative justice programs focus on repairing harm and building bridges between offenders and victims, promoting healing and reconciliation.
The NJC continues to evolve and adapt to the changing needs of the community it serves. Its commitment to fostering a sense of justice that extends beyond punishment and into the realm of healing and restoration remains a powerful testament to its success.
In conclusion, the Neighbourhood Justice Centre in Collingwood serves as a pioneering model for community-oriented justice. Its holistic, multi-disciplinary approach, community engagement, and commitment to addressing the root causes of crime make it a remarkable institution that is transforming the landscape of justice in Australia.
Please note that the information provided is a general in nature, for information and advice specific to your circumstances contact our office.
About the Directors:
Emma Turnbull is a passionate advocate for justice, equality, and empowerment. With her deep commitment to making a positive impact, she has dedicated her life to fighting for the rights of individuals facing prosecution by the State and promoting social change.
“I firmly believe that each and every one of us has the power to create meaningful change. It starts by finding our voices, standing up for what is right, and ensuring that everyone, whether they have a five day or three month jury trial, receives a fair hearing. My goal is that win or lose, every client feels they have received a fair trial, with their voice heard and their best defence put forward.”
Adrian Lewin is a seasoned criminal lawyer renowned for his unwavering dedication to defending the rights of individuals facing legal challenges. With his extensive experience and expertise in criminal law, Adrian has successfully represented clients in a wide range of complex cases. Known for his strategic thinking and meticulous preparation, he tirelessly fights for justice, ensuring that every client receives the strongest possible defence.