Strong and safe Aboriginal families and communities

Goal

1.1

Aboriginal families are strong and resilient

Outcomes

1.1.1

People are more connected to their family, community, country and culture

1.1.2           

Families are enabled to address justice issues and minimise the effects of crime and justice system involvement

1.1.3

Families have greater awareness and ability to protect their civil rights

Families are the heart of Aboriginal communities. Families are important for defining identity and building connectedness to community and to culture, which are critical to ensuring Aboriginal peoples’ social and emotional wellbeing. Nurturing these protective influences can reduce the risk of criminal justice system involvement. In addition, these connections can promote resilience, with supportive family networks more able to respond to emerging issues.

Rather than focussing purely on individual needs, justice programs and services need to respond to both the broader and local contexts in which people live to be effective. Understanding the holistic circumstances of Aboriginal people in contact or at risk of contact with the justice system will assist to better identify and cater to their specific needs.

To be strong and safe, Aboriginal families and communities also need to be confident in exercising their rights. Aboriginal families often have difficulty accessing justice services, particularly those that protect their civil rights. Aboriginal people are underrepresented in their use of civil justice services due to relatively low levels of awareness, and reluctance to be involved in ‘court-like’ processes. Improving awareness of, and access to the mechanisms that protect civil rights will reduce vulnerability to homelessness, elder abuse and consumer abuse.

 

Strategies

Icon indicating this strategy is early intervention and prevention.

Incorporate cultural strengthening approaches into justice services and programs to enhance positive connections to family, community and kin and improve strength, resilience and wellbeing.

Icon indicating this strategy is early intervention and prevention.

Provide family-centred responses that coordinate support for families, when family members are involved in the justice system, to enhance their capacity to heal from trauma, and improve parenting, relationship, communication and problem solving capabilities.

Icon indicating this strategy is early intervention and prevention.

Increase use of civil justice services by Aboriginal stakeholders through community engagement and outreach, and improving the cultural safety of these services.

 

Existing initiatives

  • Sister’s Day Out, Dilly Bag and Young Luv: Prevention and early intervention activities for Aboriginal women vulnerable to, or who have experienced family violence.
  • Ngarra Jarranounith Place: supports Aboriginal men through a range of therapeutic family violence and personal development programs.
  • Statewide Aboriginal legal services to assist victims/survivors and perpetrators with family violence matters.
  • Koori Conveners and Koori Family Hearing Days in the Family Division of the Children’s Court.
  • Wungurilwil Gapgapduir initiatives to address the over-representation of Aboriginal children in child protection and care, and ensure they remain better connected to culture, country and community.
  • Early Childhood initiatives that assist parents to support Aboriginal children’s learning and development from pre-birth to school age, including Koorie Families as First Educators, Koorie Supported Playgroups, In Home Support and Home Based Learning.
  • Koori Engagement Officer and awareness campaign to promote Aboriginal engagement with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

New opportunities

Over five years we will

Family centred approaches
Not yet commenced

Family centred approaches

Collaborate across government departments to design and deliver family centred approaches for Aboriginal clients with complex needs across multiple systems, and ensure justice responses are aligned and integrated with developments in:
• Aboriginal child protection and out-of-home care
• family violence integrated support and safety hubs
• child and family services sector reform
• Gathering Places.
Increase Aboriginal staff in VCAT
Not yet commenced

Increase Aboriginal staff in VCAT

Increase the number of Aboriginal staff working in VCAT and further promote Aboriginal engagement with VCAT across the community.

Future possibilities

We will continue to work with Aboriginal communities to consider

Marram-Ngala Ganbu – Koori Hearing Days
Future consideration

Marram-Ngala Ganbu – Koori Hearing Days

Consider increasing the number of Koori Conveners and Children’s Courts providing Marram-Ngala Ganbu – Koori Hearing Days.
Strengths based media representations
Future consideration

Strengths based media representations

Consider promoting strengths based media representations of Victorian Aboriginal communities.