Our team

Stan Winford

Associate Director

Stan is a practising lawyer and justice system expert with experience in innovation and reform, including user-centred design and applications for restorative and therapeutic justice in criminal and civil law.

Stan's restorative justice work has included leading projects exploring the role that restorative justice might play in responding to harm and conflict in the context of serious crime, as well as worker’s compensation, occupational health and safety and transport accident compensation schemes. In addition to research and teaching, Stan has studied restorative justice in New Zealand, undertaken professional development and training with the European Forum for Restorative Justice, and group conferencing training accredited by the Victorian Association for Restorative Justice.

Stan’s work with the CIJ includes addressing the needs of victims of crime, improving justice responses for people with mental ill health and intellectual disability, and developing more effective approaches to reducing future offending.

Email: Kristann.Winford@rmit.edu.au

Renee Handsaker

Principal Restorative Justice Convener

Renee is a highly skilled facilitator specialising in restorative conferencing, conflict transformation and debriefing following traumatic incidents. She has extensive experience working in government, non-government, secondary schools, private sector and community organisations, responding to individuals and groups experiencing trauma, distress and conflict.

Renee is an Expert Advisor to the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s Office to assist with the development and delivery of the Australian Defence Force’s Restorative Engagement program. As part of this program she facilitated restorative conferences between victims of abuse, bullying and harassment and senior representatives of the Australian Defence Force. Renee provided expert advice to support the design and implementation of RMIT University's Restorative Engagement Program, as part of the institution’s response to sexual harm on University campuses. Following the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Renee facilitated restorative engagement processes between institutions and adult survivors of child sexual abuse. Renee has conciliated meetings between patients, medical practitioners and health institutions to respond to medical harms and negligence. She was the principal facilitator for the CIJ's Restorative Justice Pilot program, for people involved in serious motor vehicle collisions.

Renee is an accredited Mental Health Social Worker, with more than 15 years' experience providing both crisis and longer term therapeutic expertise to individuals and families. Renee has a Masters of Narrative Therapy and Community Work.

Email: Renee.Handsaker@rmit.edu.au

Katie Christensen

Restorative Justice Convener

Katie Christensen (She/Her) is a Wurundjeri Woman who has extensive experience working in the Domestic Violence sector – supporting Women who have experienced violence in crisis and long term case management and facilitating healing groups for women.

Katie has also facilitated and contributed to the development of Making aMENds – a pilot program for fathers who had used violence in the family home.

Katie has also trained and worked as an Aboriginal Health Worker, and a Koori Maternity Support Worker where she worked alongside a midwife to provide support for expecting mothers in her local community and facilitated Kaalinya Inyanook – a Mums and Bubs group that focussed on well being and information for new mothers.

Katie has recently completed her Masters in Narrative Therapy and Community Work.

Email: Katie.Christensen@rmit.edu.au

Melanie Joosten

Senior Adviser, Research & Advocacy

Melanie is a social worker, writer and researcher who has worked in the areas of family violence, elder abuse and ageing. She supports the CIJ’s work in the area of restorative justice.

Most recently, Melanie was Senior Policy Officer at Seniors Rights Victoria, a community legal centre that works to prevent and address elder abuse as a form of family violence. Melanie has led projects including an analysis of elder abuse data in Victoria, research into intimate partner violence experienced by older women, submissions to numerous government inquiries and Royal Commissions, and the development of a series of discussion papers on issues related to elder abuse. Prior to this she worked as a researcher at the National Ageing Research Institute, contributing to projects on older people’s experience of ageing, with a focus on mental health, elder abuse, caring responsibilities and LGBTI communities.

Melanie has also worked as a consultant with Elder Abuse Action Australia on a project for Compass.info on family accommodation arrangements.

Melanie has a Master of Social Work through RMIT, and a Master of Arts (Editing & Communications) and Bachelor of Creative Arts (Honours) through the University of Melbourne. She is the author of three books, including the award-winning essay collection A Long Time Coming: Essays on Old Age.

Email: Melanie.Joosten@rmit.edu.au