Bridge of Hope Innocence Initiative

The initiative aims to examine cases where a person may have been wrongfully convicted, and assist in exonerating that person if there is evidence of a wrongful conviction.

RMIT and VCOSS PhD scholarship

The Bridge of Hope Innocence Initiative at RMIT is an exciting collaboration between staff, students and industry.

About the Bridge of Hope Innocence Initiative

The Bridge of Hope Innocence Initiative at RMIT is a joint venture between RMIT University and The Bridge of Hope Foundation.. The Initiative follows the work of others in the innocence movement who aim to both investigate claims of wrongful conviction and campaign for reform of issues that lead to these injustices.

The Bridge of Hope Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation. Established in 2001, The Bridge of Hope Foundation Inc is a registered not-for-profit, social justice charity with Deductible Gift Recipient taxation status.

The principal activities of the Bridge of Hope Foundation centre upon matters of social justice, the implementation of justice reinvestment policies and the provision of both the emotional and physical tools required to assist in turning disadvantaged lives around.

How you can participate as a student

The Bridge of Hope Innocence Initiative is open to undergraduate, honours and postgraduate students.

The Innocence Initiative runs across the year in semesters 1 and 2 as well as spring and summer semesters. For more information about the availability of The Bridge of Hope Innocence Initiative, please contact us.

You do not need to have legal skills or legal knowledge to intern with the Initiative, as training will be provided. As part of the Initiative, you will be supervised primarily by a lawyer, as well as a designated RMIT Justice and Legal Studies staff member.

Course information

Justice and Legal Studies students

As a successful Bachelor of Criminal Justice or Bachelor of Legal and Dispute Studies student, you will be able to complete your core internship course working on the Initiative. Or as a successful Master of Justice and Criminology student, you will be able to link your Justice Research Project with the Initiative.

If you have already completed your core internship course and you are successful in your application, you may be able to complete a 12 credit point Justice and Legal Studies elective WIL course attached to the Initiative.

Students from other programs

If successful in your application, you will enrol in an elective internship course. The elective course you will enrol into is either one of the following:

You must have permission from your program area or school to be involved with the Initiative and to enrol into this course.

Application process and selection criteria

Places are limited and determined through a competitive selection process for each intake. If your application is shortlisted, you will be required to attend an interview and obtain a successful police check. If your application is successful, you will enrol in a Justice and Legal Studies internship course in the appropriate semester.

To be eligible to apply, you should:

  • be an undergraduate, honours or postgraduate student at RMIT
  • have a GPA of 2.5 or above in your current program (exceptional cases will be considered)
  • have completed at least 48 credit points in your current program (not including credit transfer)
  • be able to travel to the Melbourne City campus in order to take part in key activities

Students from the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies (GUSS)

  1. Log into InPlace using your RMIT credentials.
  2. The Bridge of Hope Innocence Initiative may be open for applications in several semesters and each semester will be listed separately. Select the appropriate semester for you from the ‘Opportunities’ menu.
  3. Click ‘Submit Application’ to open the ‘Application Submission’ window.
  4. To upload your cover letter and resume, click ‘Upload Attachment’ to open a ‘Browse’ window. Select the file.
  5. Click ‘Submit Application’ to submit your application.
  6. Log out of InPlace.
  7. Complete a Google Form.

Select the relevant form based on the semester you applied for in InPlace:

Semester 1 2019 
Semester 2 2019   

For assistance with InPlace, please contact either guss.wil@rmit.edu.au or inplace.support@rmit.edu.au.

To access an InPlace quick reference guide, please visit the GUSS WIL site.

Students from schools other than Global, Urban and Social Studies

To apply, you are required to follow these steps:

  1. Email a current resume to bohii@rmit.edu.au
  2. Complete a Google form for the appropriate semester:

Semester 1 2019 
Semester 2 2019  

If you need assistance with your application, please contact guss.wil@rmit.edu.au.

How you can participate as a volunteer

All volunteers will be asked to join one or more assigned case hubs. A case hub is the team working on a particular case. As a volunteer, you will be expected to participate in:

  • case projects i.e. specific projects related to a particular case
  • some case management e.g. correspondence, scanning, FOI requests, liaising with professional volunteers such as law firms and other agencies including the Victoria Police Forensic Centre
  • some case investigation
  • data entry and analysis using case management software

You will work with other volunteers, interns and tutors in each case hub, reporting to the Project Manager and Project Director.

All volunteers would normally be based at RMIT’s city campus.

These roles are unpaid. Working hours and the length of your involvement with The Bridge of Hope Innocence Initiative can be negotiated with the Project Director and/or Project Manager.

What is volunteering?

Volunteering is unpaid work, where you share your skills and time to help others in the community. According to Volunteers Australia, volunteering is a form of civic participation which enriches the wellbeing of the overall community and the lives of the volunteers participating.

Benefits of volunteering with us

Some of the benefits of volunteering with us include:

  • networking
  • helping to address instances of wrongful conviction
  • working with a diverse and collaborative environment
  • opportunities to learn new skills and to receive training from industry experts
  • opportunities to share your expertise and experiences with students and other volunteers

Apply now for a volunteer role

Complete an application form

Contact us

The Bridge of Hope Innocence Initiative administration
Email: bohii@rmit.edu.au

Academic contact 
Dr Gregory Stratton
Michele Ruyters

Enquiries about claims of factual innocence

If you, or someone you know, claim factual innocence and wish to have the matter reinvestigated by the Innocence Initiative, you may apply by completing the application form and returning it by email or post to the address below:

Email: innocence.initiative@rmit.edu.au
Post: Bridge of Hope Innocence Initiative at RMIT, GPO Box 2476, Melbourne VIC 3001
Phone: (03) 99252997

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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nations on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.

More information