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Criminal justice organisations collaborate to improve wellbeing across sector

Criminal justice organisations collaborate to improve wellbeing across sector

By LIV Media

Communication Health Mentoring Occupations Wellbeing Workplace 

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A group of 10 legal, judicial and government organisations have signed up to a Statement of Shared Commitment to improve the wellbeing of those working in the criminal justice sector.

The Statement has been developed in response to high rates of anxiety, depression and suicide amongst legal practitioners and judicial officers working in the criminal justice system.

It follows a recent meeting convened by the Law Institute of Victoria.

LIV president Belinda Wilson says the legal profession took very seriously the health and safety of all those who work in the legal profession – including police, lawyers, judges and magistrates and court staff.

“Increasing pressure and workloads across the justice system have flow on effects for lawyers, judges and magistrates, police and court staff,” Ms Wilson said.

“We know that lawyers are more likely than other professional groups to suffer anxiety and depression, and those who work in the criminal justice sector are particularly vulnerable to experiencing burnout and vicarious trauma.”

She says the Statement aims to bring organisations from across the sector to try to mitigate the factors that have been linked with poor wellbeing in those who work in the criminal justice sector.

Ms Wilson said the LIV criminal law section had agreed to nominate mentors who are available to discuss any issues members may have in criminal law practice. The list will be published on the LIV website.

The signatories to the agreement were the Criminal Bar Association, Victoria Police, the Judicial College of Victoria, Victoria Legal Aid, the Office of Public Prosecutions, Federation of Community Legal Centres, Liberty Victoria, Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service, WorkSafe Victoria and the Law Institute of Victoria. They have committed to working together to find ways to reduce stress on those working in the criminal justice system.

Signatories to the Statement have also committed to addressing wellbeing and mental health issues.

Strategies include:

  • Working in partnership with one another to ensure that organisational and systemic structures are developed and implemented to limit stressors that impact on the well-being of those working in the criminal justice system
  • Cultivating a culture of mutual respect and open dialogue between agencies to support productive and constructive relationships
  • Encouraging the provision of easily accessible, effective and safe mental health resources across agencies
  • Encouraging and promoting formal and informal mentoring among junior and senior justice sector employees and practitioners
  • Being effective, respectful and positive role models to each other and for all of those working across different agencies 
  • Encouraging respect and understanding of each other’s work pressures
  • Continuing to meet as a group to identify shared issues and share mental health and wellbeing strategies implemented across respective agencies.

The agencies also agreed to continue to meet to evaluate progress and address issues.

Read the Statement here


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