The Therapeutic Justice Program was launched on the 13 of November 2015 at the Old Courthouse in Shepparton and officiated by His Honour Peter Lauritsen, the Chief Magistrate of Victoria. The Therapeutic Justice Program is a partnership between Goulburn Valley Community Legal Centre (GVCLC) and Primary Care Connect (PCC), funded by the Victorian Legal Services Board and Commissioner. The program provides a holistic health and legal case management service that assists users of the Shepparton Magistrates’ Court in addressing their underlying complex health and personal issues by connecting them with appropriate support services and consequently placing them in a better place to deal their legal matters.Also, with placing a lawyer in a health/social setting, this program assists in the early detection of legal problems.
Sejal Amin, our Therapeutic Justice Lawyer and David Johns, the Therapeutic Case Manager from PCC have been working on developing and setting this program up since March this year. They have been up and running for a couple of months now and are at court 3 days a week. The team have been pleased with the response they have received to date; the program has worked with 56 participants and their families. The data collected illustrates that clients’ circumstances have improved with connections being made to relevant support services.
Representatives of key agencies in Shepparton were in attendance at the launch, including Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Justice and Regulation, Rumbalara, RAJAC, GV Health, ACSO and Court Services Victoria. Private legal practitioners who have supported and used the program were also in attendance. The Regional Coordinating Magistrate, Her Honour Stella Stuthridge has been especially supportive of this program from its birth and showed her support at the launch.
There was also good media coverage of the launch by Shepparton News, WIN News , ABC Radio and on Social Media.
The TJ team would like to thank the Shepparton community, especially their reference group members, court registry, prosecutors, family violence court liaison officers, for their ongoing support and encouragement.