Research + Projects

CIJ supports Africause and the African-Australian community in designing an innovative alternative justice response   

Following several months of consultation with the African Australian community in Melbourne’s inner west, the CIJ has assisted in the design of an innovative, community led justice model to support young African Australians stay out of the criminal justice system. 

With the working title of the African Australian Circle of Support, the model has been designed to respond to the needs and aspirations of each young person who is referred to it.  The model works by building a circle of support around the young person, focusing on the strengths of the young person and importantly, harnessing the skills and expertise of people in the community which may include peers or respected elders, as well as family members or professionals. The circle supports can each provide assistance to the young person and collectively, they become the people to whom the young person is accountable. Referrals to the circle may come from the community, police, corrections or the courts.     

This project builds on CIJ’s commitment to working alongside communities who are overrepresented in the justice system to assist them in developing alternative, self-determined, therapeutic focused pathways as a response to harm.     

The project was funded by the Victorian Legal Services Board. Africause is now exploring funding options to establish a pilot program to implement the model.