From time to time, Vacro will engage - proactively and reactively - with the media to tell the stories of people with lived experience of the criminal justice system, in an accurate and unbiased way.

Speak with a Vacro expert

Vacro is a Victoria-based, specialist justice reintegration service provider.

Vacro's Communications Advisor is the central point of contact for media enquiries for promoting Vacro's research, policy and advocacy, and for providing expert commentary.

The following members of Vacro's team are recognised for their expertise and are available to speak with the media, upon arrangement:

  • Marius Smith, CEO
  • Melanie Field-Pimm, Development Manager
  • Abigail Lew, Senior Policy and Advocacy Advisor
  • Dr Aaron Hart, Strategic Researcher and Evaluation Designer
  • Senior Specialist Service Managers, depending on the enquiry.

To discuss your media enquiry, please contact Angela Smith, Communications Advisor: [email protected] / 0498 666 016.

Speak with a person with lived experience of the criminal justice system

People with lived experience of the justice system face risks when interacting with the media. With the potential of a person being retraumatised, we take our duty of care seriously, and sometimes this means we are unable to connect media professionals with people with lived experience.

When we do connect people with the media, we are responsible to act as a support before, during and after any interactions with media. To manage risk, we expect members of the media who we work with to:

  • Respect our Internal Process (outlined below).
  • Pay attention to a person with lived experience's expectations to privacy.
  • To have due regard for the dignity and safety of a person (and their family / community), before putting any sensitive facts or identifying details, including photos / videos about their condition or experience into the public domain.
  • Not disclose the individual's offence in the media story, and the media professional should not ask for details of the offending. In exceptional circumstances, where the relevance of the offence to the story has been agreed upon, Informed Consent* may be obtained in discussion with both the individual and their support person.
  • Gain Informed Consent regarding the parameters of the interaction with the media, including:
    • Whether or not a real name / pseudonym / anonymity will be used, 
    • If pictures / video will be taken, who will be featured in them and how (i.e., the person with lived experience may prefer to be disguised, or in shadow); confirmation of these details will be obtained by the Vacro support person and shared with the media professional,
  • Once these parameters have been set, the media professional should not attempt to alter or expand upon them later.

*Informed Consent

Consent is when a person voluntarily agrees to be involved in an activity. Informed Consent requires more information and discussion about the possible risks and benefits of their involvement both to themselves and to others. This ensures that they are in a position to make an informed decision. This discussion needs to be held by professionals with specialist knowledge of the impact and training in support and guidance. 

For this reason, the media professional should not, under any circumstances, attempt to contact the person with lived experience directly. All contact should be made through their Vacro contact person.

Vacro's Internal Process for managing media requests to interview a person with lived experience of the criminal justice system:

Step 1: Media professional and Vacro's Communications Advisor establish:

  • Story angle,
  • Lived Experience expert; Vacro's subject matter expert,
  • Media placement and timing,
  • Use of photography / video / indentifying details of person with lived experience,
  • Deadline,
  • Other relevant details.

Step 2: Vacro's Communications Advisor contacts the Lived Experience Panel for appropriate spokesperson (as relevant to media opportunity) and confirms availability. So that a reactive decision is not made, a 24-hour cooling off period is given before a response is made.

Step 3: If a member of Vacro's Lived Experience Panel meets the criteria for the story and is open to participating in the media opp, they are briefed by the Communications Advisor; Informed Consent is gained regarding the details outlined in Step 1

Step 4: The Communications Advisor establishes the parameters of the interview / media opp with the media professional in writing via email. If the media professional agrees to the parameters in writing via email, then date / time / place of interview is confirmed. 

Step 5: Prior to interview, psychological support is offered to the person with lived experience (support that may be provided during the media opportunity, and after). If the Communications Advisor is not available to be present for the media opportunity, an alternate Vacro support person is appointed.

Step 6: During the interview, the media professional will not attempt to obtain consent for any of the interviewee's personal information or anything other than what was originally agreed upon. 

Step 7: Post-interview / media-opp, Vacro's Communications Advisor (and the Vacro support person, if requested), will debrief with the person with lived experience. Additional support with a psychologist is available for the person with lived experience, if they so wish.