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Focus on homelessness for Innovative Justice Semester 1

This semester, the RMIT Juris Doctor’s Innovative Justice subject will focus on the topic “sleeping rough” as a lens through which to examine innovative justice.

Homelessness is on the rise across Australia. ABS data indicates that up to 116,00 people were homeless across Australia on census night 2016. In Melbourne, on any given night, almost 20,000 people are homeless. The City of Melbourne has developed a range of responses to people sleeping rough, targeting rough sleepers, businesses, visitors and residents. The City’s position has also changed over the past three years: in 2017, former Lord Mayor Robert Doyle introduced measures to fine people up to $250 for leaving possessions unattended. In June 2018 these measures were dropped by new Lord Mayor Sally Capp. However, Victorian legislation including the Summary Offences Act still provides for offences and penalties – such as begging – that have the effect of targeting people living on the streets.

This semester, the RMIT Juris Doctor’s Innovative Justice subject will focus on the topic “sleeping rough” as a lens through which to examine innovative justice. In this course, students will look at homelessness as a legal and policy challenge. Hearing a broad range of perspectives on this issue from magistrates, lawyers, social workers, council representatives, police and business owners, as well as people with lived experience of homelessness, students will be invited to develop and present their own innovative justice responses. The subject is delivered by Professor Bronwyn Naylor and Greg Barns from the Graduate School of Business and Law, and the CIJ’s Associate Director Stan Winford.

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