Justice system

Forensic careers involve working within the criminal justice system in areas including policing, prisons, courts and tribunals, and with programs that protect citizens’ rights.

Conciliator

Conciliators help the parties of a dispute reach agreement. You’ll use your understanding of human behaviour to identify and address conflict.

Your future role

As a conciliator your tasks may include:

  • conducting investigations, formulating reports and proposing recommendations
  • undertaking conciliation and facilitated negotiation of complaints in a statutory framework
  • preparing detailed correspondence and reports relating to alleged breaches of the various Acts and managing a high-volume caseload
  • communicating effectively on complex matters with a wide range of people
  • providing information to members of the public on the full range of Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission activities and services.

Skills and experience

The skills and experience that will help get you started in this role include:

  • good communication skills, both interpersonal and written
  • ability to build strong relationships and motivate others
  • ability to solve problems by gathering relevant information and generating and testing a range of solutions and outcomes
  • demonstrated conceptual thinking and analytical skills
  • ability to help others resolve problems and negotiate agreed actions to deal with conflict
  • ability to appreciate a range of different cultures.

Qualifications and requirements

For this role you'll need qualifications and requirements that include:

  • qualifications and/or practical experience in conciliation/mediation, workplace relations law and/or human resource management
  • experience in conflict management – particularly in ensuring the concerns of others have been heard.

Employers

Youth justice

The youth justice program works with young offenders aged between 10 and 20 years who will generally be on a children's court order, or in some cases, an adult court order.

Your future role

Youth justice workers help clients address their offending behaviour while being held accountable on community-based orders. Youth justice workers also provide assessment and court advice and support young people attending court and in custodial care. As a youth justice worker your tasks may include:

  • engaging young people in positive change, providing care, supervision and support to develop practical and interpersonal skills
  • supporting young people in their personal development through individual casework, structured programs, interaction and the modelling of appropriate behaviours, as well as maintaining a safe and secure environment
  • supervising young people to comply with their community-based orders by providing intensive case management, advocacy, support, advocacy, support and referral to health and welfare services, education, employment and accommodation
  • providing advice to help courts in making informed decisions
  • working closely with youth justice custodial staff, other professionals and agencies to help young people comply with their orders and get their lives back on track
  • writing a broad range of reports, assessments for courts and the Youth Parole Board, and client files.

Skills and experience

The skills and experience that will help get you started in this role include:

  • a positive and energetic attitude
  • ability to make assessments, plan and organise
  • ability to gather and analyse information as well as advocate for, engage, supervise and monitor young people
  • display commitment, integrity, resilience, empathy and cultural awareness.

Qualifications and requirements

For this role you'll need qualifications and requirements that include:

  • Bachelor of Social Work or Diploma in Welfare Studies (or potentially a Bachelor of Laws)
  • other tertiary qualifications at diploma level or above that include units of study in case management/casework practice and supervised practical work placements
  • a course in counselling
  • Police Check and Working with Children Check.

Employers

For information relating to employment in this area, visit the Department of Human Services. You may also like to investigate volunteering and training opportunities at the Court Network, which is a valuable court support service for court users.

Community corrections

Community Corrections Officers (CCOs) monitor and supervise offenders who have been sentenced by the courts to serve Community Correctional Orders or who have been released from prison on parole by the Adult Parole Board.

Your future role

As a community corrections officer your tasks may include:

  • interviewing and counselling offenders
  • monitoring compliance by ensuring offenders are participating in appropriate programs and specialist services
  • facilitating offender attendance at educational, community work, assessment and treatment programs, including drug and alcohol counselling, anger management and relationship programs
  • conducting court assessments to assist the judiciary in making sentencing decisions
  • prosecuting an offender in court or giving evidence when an offender breaches the conditions of their Community Correctional Order
  • visiting prisons to interview prisoners, assessing their suitability for parole and providing reports to the Adult Parole Board.

Skills and experience

The skills and experience that will help get you started in this role include:

  • ability to listen in a non-judgemental way
  • effective problem-solving skills
  • ability to see issues from the perspective of others and negotiate
  • good communication skills, both written and interpersonal
  • ability to build relationships with offenders, stakeholders and colleagues
  • excellent time management skills and ability to manage a busy caseload.

Qualifications and requirements

While no formal qualifications are required, a degree in an appropriate discipline such as social work, psychology or criminal justice is desirable. A postgraduate counselling certificate may also be useful.

Employers

For information relating to employment in this area, visit the Department of Justice. You may also like to investigate volunteering and training opportunities at the Court Network, which is a valuable court support service for court users.

Prison officer

Prison officers are responsible for the management and secure containment of prisoners throughout Australia.

Your future role

As a prison officer your duties may include:

  • ensuring that all parts of the prison (including prisoner accommodation areas) are secure and orderly
  • escorting prisoners
  • conducting surveillance
  • observing and assessing prisoner behaviour
  • operating security equipment and managing keys and locks
  • collating information and preparing reports.

Corrections Victoria adopts a case-management approach, where prison officers with direct prisoner supervision are assigned a prisoner caseload. This work includes:

  • conducting monthly Individual Management Plan (IMP) meetings with prisoners
  • liaising with program staff to ensure prisoner program participation aligns with the needs of individual prisoners
  • encouraging and motivating prisoners to address their offending behaviour
  • preparing prisoner assessments and providing advice and recommendations to prison-based committees
  • participating in prisoner programs and activities.

Skills and experience

The skills and experience that will help get you started in this role include:

  • experienced in working in a team
  • strong communication and people management skills, with the ability to influence and negotiate
  • ability to work under pressure
  • effective problem-solving skills
  • good written communication skills, especially report writing
  • ability to be a good role model, and be ethical, honest and accountable for your actions
  • ability to behave in a just, humane and courteous manner, with empathy and cultural awareness
  • ability to listen in a non-judgemental way.

Qualifications and requirements

Formal qualifications or previous experience in a similar role is not required to become a prison officer. Corrections Victoria is looking for people who are mature, able to reserve judgment and have an ability to act as positive role models. Life experience is a critical prerequisite.

Employers

For information relating to employment in this area, visit the Department of Justice.

Child protection worker

Child protection practitioners are responsible for ensuring the safety and wellbeing of children and young people.

Your future role

Child protection can involve working with infants, adolescents, Indigenous children and families, as well as culturally and linguistically diverse populations. As a child protection worker, your duties could include:

  • providing advice and consultation to people who report concerns about children and young people
  • assessing children and families where it is believed a child is at risk of significant harm
  • engaging and working with children and families to promote safety, stability and development of the child, and to strengthen family capacity
  • assessing callers' concerns about children
  • making initial visits to families to assess a child’s wellbeing
  • managing long-term caseloads and looking after the best interests of children.

Skills and experience

The skills and experience that will help get you started in this role include:

  • problem-solving skills with the ability to assess given situations and identify possible options for children and their families
  • demonstrated flexibility of approach, and the ability to understand situations from another's point of view
  • good time management skills, including setting goals and objectives
  • strong communication skills
  • good written skills including report writing
  • resilience, self-confidence and good self-awareness.

Qualifications and requirements

The Department of Health and Human Services in Victoria requires one of the following:

  • a recognised Diploma of Community Services or similar, which is at minimum a two-year full-time or equivalent course, and includes a primary focus on child development, human behaviour, family dynamics and/or impacts of trauma, as well as supervised fieldwork placements (ideally within the child and family welfare sector) and at least one unit in case management, case work practice or counselling
  • a recognised social work degree or a similar welfare or behaviour-related degree that includes a primary focus on child development, human behaviour, family dynamics and/or impacts of trauma, and preferably a practical component such as counselling or case work practice.

A valid drivers licence and a Working with Children Check are also required.

Employers

For information relating to employment in this area, visit the Department of Health and Human Services. If you're passionate about working with children and their families in a different capacity, there are many other psychology-related careers to discover.

Find out more about psychology careers involving children and families