Research + Projects

Supporting Justice

Supporting Justice is aimed at improving the justice system's responses to mental health and disability.

People with mental ill health and cognitive impairments are significantly over-represented in the justice system.

Supporting Justice supports people with lived experience, as well as those working in the system, to be involved in developing solutions and achieving systemic change.

Supporting Justice will involve two related streams of work:

One stream is a long-term project which will draw together stakeholders from across the justice and disability sectors to identify and act on opportunities for systemic reform and intervention.

As a precursor to this broader project, the CIJ has been commissioned by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services to undertake an Information Linkages and Capacity Building project for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in Victoria.

The CIJ and its project partner PaperGiant are using human-centred design to develop an online resource for courts and other legal professionals, to ensure that people with a cognitive impairment, autism-spectrum disorder or dual disability who are in contact with the justice system do not experience discrimination regarding the determination of least restrictive interventions, and continue to have their human rights upheld.

The development of the online resource is being informed by a series of co-design workshops, consultations and engagement activities bringing together people with lived experience of disability and the criminal justice system, justice professionals and disability support sector professionals, to help identify:

  • less restrictive options currently available to people with cognitive impairment, autism spectrum-disorder and dual disability who are in contact with the criminal justice system;
  • how decisions about how to respond to people with cognitive impairment, autism spectrum-disorder and dual disability are currently made by those working in the justice system;
  • where the information gaps in the system exist; and
  • what kind of information / online resource might benefit those working in the system to make more informed choices and consider least restrictive alternatives.

This collaboration will help to define who the resource is for, what it needs to contain and how it will be implemented and assessed. Following the collaboration and engagement phase, the project partners will develop a prototype for the online resource, user-test the prototype and refine it before its finalisation by 30 June 2019.

Supporting Justice builds on the CIJ’s ground breaking 2017 Enabling Justice project, which was done in partnership with Jesuit Social Services and people with lived experience of disability and the criminal justice system.

Supporting Justice Bulletins

The Supporting Justice bulletins are designed to keep project stakeholders informed about what’s going on, and to demonstrate how consultation and feedback is driving project decisions and outcomes. The bulletins will be sent out periodically over the duration of the Supporting Justice project. You can subscribe here, and read past editions of the bulletin below:

Supporting Justice Bulletin #1, March 2019 

Supporting Justice Bulletin #2, May 2019 – standard version

Supporting Justice Bulletin #2, May 2019 – easy English version

Supporting Justice Bulletin #3, August 2019


Related Content


Supporting Justice update

Work is progressing well on the CIJ’s Supporting Justice project which, through two streams of work, aims to design better justice responses for people with a cognitive impairment and/or complex needs in Victoria. 

Read more
Systemic Reform

Enabling Justice ABI

The Acquired Brain Injury project researched, explored and identified ways to address the over-incarceration of people with an acquired brain injury.

Read more Download publication

Enabling Justice – Brain Injury Awareness Week

In recognition of Brain Injury Awareness week, Rob Hulls talks to the ‘Enabling Justice’ Project’s Justice User Group (JUG) participants John and Kerry and the Project Support Coordinator at Jesuit Social Services, Brigid Henley, on what it’s like to be a justice system user with an acquired brain injury and how it could be improved from their perspective.


Key People

Stan Winford

Stan Winford

Associate Director of Research, Innovation & Reform

Stan is a legal 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.

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Anna Howard

Anna Howard

Senior Adviser, Research and Advocacy

Anna is an experienced lawyer who has practised as a social justice lawyer in community legal centres and native title representation bodies for more than a decade.

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Michael Haralambous

Michael Haralambous

Senior Adviser, Research and Advocacy

Michael is a criminal solicitor who has worked with Victoria Legal Aid and the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service.

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