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Inaugural Voices for Justice participants graduate with flying colours!

The inaugural Voices for Justice training program has wrapped up on a high as our first round of self-advocates took part in a graduation ceremony at the CIJ earlier this week.

At the ceremony each of the graduates presented to an audience of their peers, family and friends, members of the justice sector and CIJ and SARU staff. Graduates shared their stories of their ABI, involvement with the justice system, and how the Voices for Justice training had helped to give them the confidence to speak out and help others to improve the justice system for people with mental illness and disability.

VoJ graduate Kevin addressing the ceremony

One graduate, John, told the audience:

“(This training) has given me more awareness about myself, and my own journey, and now I can help others. I have become aware that I can have a voice, I have changed from my past experience from being in jail and I have learnt that there is another way to live.”

Another, Graham, said:

“I want to make a change for people who have an ABI who find themselves in the justice system. I want to help people when they are released to stay off drugs and alcohol. I want to help people make their homes out of jail.”

CIJ Director Rob Hulls also addressed the ceremony, calling each of the graduates “trailblazers” and reminding them not to underestimate the contribution they have and can continue to make as people with lived experience of the criminal justice system.

CIJ Director Rob Hulls at the Voices for Justice Graduation, December 2019

The graduates each received a certificate of completion and a big round of applause. It was an emotional and happy celebration to end to a successful program that will now see these graduates go on to continue as an ongoing self-advocacy group, known as Voices for Change.

The next round of Voices for Justice training will commence early in the new year. The CIJ would like to thank SARU for its ongoing collaboration in this program.

If you have any queries about the next round of training, or know someone who might be interested in participating, please contact:

Michael Haralambous

Centre for Innovative Justice

RMIT University

t 03 9925 8297

e michael.haralambous@rmit.edu.au

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