The Neighbourhood Justice Centre – 10 years on

Mr David Fanning1

1Neighbourhood Justice Centre, Collingwood, Australia

The Neighbourhood Justice Centre (NJC) opened in Collingwood, Victoria in early 2007 to serve the residents of the City of Yarra. It was and remains the first of its kind in Australia.

There was a high level of enthusiasm and energy from those associated with the NJC as well as many members of the Yarra community when the NJC commenced. Equally there was a level of apprehension and in some quarters, opposition to the establishment of the NJC.

The paper explores the origins and the reasons for the creation of the NJC which centred on a number of aims and concepts including community justice, therapeutic jurisprudence, problem solving, restorative justice, addressing the underlying causes of offending, improving confidence of all participants – victims, accused, respondents, witnesses and the community at large – in the justice system, contributing to the reduction in re-offending and decreasing the breach rate of community correction orders along with contributing to cultural and procedural change in the broader justice system.

Having explored the origins and reasons for the NJC, the paper exams the challenges that were encountered with the establishment of the NJC and the responses to these challenges. It also examines the outcomes of the 10 years of work – both the very favourable outcomes and successes as well where the outcomes were not as anticipated.

The paper seeks to provide knowledge and insight into the NJC over the past ten years with particular emphasis on providing conference participants with an opportunity to learn from the NJC experience and utilise these learnings in their own jurisdictions.

Biography:

Brief CV – HH Magistrate Fanning

Appointed a magistrate in 2006, he has sat as the Neighbourhood Justice Centre there since early 2007. Also appointed a Senior Member of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) and has subsequently been appointed a judicial member of the Adult Parole Board. Immediately prior to his appointment, he was the Commissioner for Children in Tasmania have been at the Victorian Bar for 14 years where he practised in criminal law, family law and child welfare law as well as coronial work. Having first qualified as a social worker, he worked in mental health, public welfare and child protection.  He holds degrees in Arts, Law and Social Work as well as postgraduate studies in Criminology.

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