Ms Sue Crawford OAM BJ (Retired) JP
Region: Outer Eastern Honorary Justice Group Inc. (Ringwood)
Appointed BJ JP: 1995 / 1990
Retired: BJ 2021
I firmly believe the example demonstrated to me by my parents is the basis for my commitment to my community. Throughout my life both my parents quietly supported our community. For example Dad as a Justice of Peace, Mum as a Girl Guides’ Divisional Commissioner, school committee members and supporting many local groups.
Just like my role models I have tried to serve my community quietly -certainly not seeking any public acknowledgement. Hence I’m extremely embarrassed yet humbled being asked to participate in the RVAHJ’s Honourable Persons program.
My background: I was a school Prefect and House Captain in my final year of secondary school.
I completed my initial Teacher qualification then, while teaching at various schools, I continued refining and developing my knowledge and skills by completing a number of post graduate qualifications.
Unfortunately I left my profession early to care for my Mum who was suffering from dementia.
Some of my early community involvement:
- drove local residents to their medical appointments either as a Red Cross volunteer or privately;
- coach and managed junior sporting teams;
- was a “badge tester” for the local Girl Guides;
- was the foundation Secretary of the local Rotaract Club;
- assisted local children in need of educational support;
- supported and helped care for local CFA officers and many evacuated residents during the 1968 Bushfires (I actually missed my first day of teacher training because of this); and
- finally for fun for the past 20+ years I have attended my local Council Meetings so I can ‘keep up’ with what’s happening in my LGA!
Some of my Honorary Justices involvements in ‘extra HJ curriculum’ activities:
Justice of the Peace:
- I attended a number of information sessions for potential Justices of Peace applicants to explain the role;
- I am Secretary of our local HJ Group – Outer Eastern Honorary Justices Group Inc;
- I was a member of the JP Reference Group;
- I am the co-founder and current co-ordinate of the Outer Eastern Document Signing Services.
- I participated in numerous information and training sessions with, where based on my experiences, I was able clarify the “finer” intricacies of the Bail Justice role;
- I was a member of the Bail Justice Reference Group;
- I teamed with HJO Manager, Michael Bourne and a fellow BJ Mr. John Fox JP, to develop the HJO training curriculum for future Bail Justice applicants;
- I was a member of the curriculum development team with Michael, John and two Vic Uni staff members for the Bail Justice course curriculum to be operated through Vic Uni;
- I acted as a “mentor” then “buddy” for many newly appointed Bail Justices ;
- I have been the “go to support/clarification” BJ for many of my local BJ colleagues at all hours;
- I have spoken with and answered questions from the Recruits at Vic Pol Academy about the BJ role and processes;
- I have spoken with Child Protection Workers about the BJ role and processes;
- I developed and co-ordinated Bail Justice rosters for a number (6) local Police Stations – prior to the electronic rosters being introduced;
- I participated in the Coughlan Review of the Bail Act.
Well remember the first Bail Application Hearing I conducted –actually the utter fear I felt of the responsibility now entrusted in me!
However the proudest and most humbling experience of my Bail Justice commitment was when I was approached in a local café and another customer was staring at me before he walked towards me.
“Are you a Bail Justice?” “Yes” (my stomach was now churning and heart thumping as I wondered what was coming);
“I want to thank you for giving me Bail and the encouragement and opportunity to turn my life around”.
The individual was now fully employed, feeling much better about where life was going and now believes is making a positive contribution to the community.
I must say I was most humbled to hear this but I was proud to think I had possibly had even a small part in a process resulting in the individual wanting to and successfully changing life’s direction.
Finally I am most grateful I have had the opportunity to contribute to the Victorian community, no matter how small. I certainly hope I met the high standards of community service my parents demonstrated to me.