Strong and safe Aboriginal families and communities

Goal

1.2

Aboriginal communities are safer

Outcomes

1.2.1

Victims and witnesses are better supported to manage and minimise the effects of crime

1.2.2

Communities are more enabled to address local justice issues

1.2.3

Less conflict and violence in communities

 

The survival of Aboriginal communities in the face of great adversity is testament to their strength. Aboriginal communities have great potential to nurture and protect, however there are high rates of conflict and violence in some communities. Aboriginal people, especially women and children, are disproportionately affected by family violence, and rates of victimisation, violence and offending in the Aboriginal community continue to rise. 

Aboriginal definitions of family violence are broad. In addition to high rates of violence among immediate family members, Aboriginal communities experience lateral violence, whereby abuse occurs between members of the same family, extended family, kinship networks and/or other community members. The roots of lateral violence lie in colonisation, oppression, intergenerational trauma, powerlessness and ongoing experiences of racism and discrimination. Experiencing violence, being in an environment where personal safety is at risk, or in a social setting where violence is common, has negative effects on individuals and communities.

Being a victim or witness to crime is often the first contact Aboriginal people have with the justice system and is known to increase the likelihood of future offending. A more intensive and targeted approach to safety in Aboriginal communities is required. Building strong and safe communities is an important foundation for both the wellbeing of Aboriginal people and the prevention of crime. Safe communities are places in which people experience empowerment, security, pride, wellbeing and resilience. 

Stronger communities are more able to address local issues. Evidence from the evaluation of AJA3 tells us that strong local leadership, joined-up and collaborative approaches between justice agencies, service providers and the Aboriginal community delivering flexible services that are appropriate to the local context are critical to success. 

 

 

Strategies

Icon indicating this strategy is early intervention and prevention.

Meet the specific needs of Aboriginal victims and witnesses of crime, particularly children. Provide culturally-informed support and enable access to the services they need to ensure healing can occur.

Icon indicating this strategy is early intervention and prevention.

Empower Aboriginal communities to identify the justice and community safety issues in their local areas and determine their own solutions.

Icon indicating this strategy is early intervention and prevention.

Increase the capacity of Aboriginal communities to respond to disputes through community-led initiatives in areas including family and lateral violence prevention, mediation and dispute resolution.

 

Existing initiatives 

  • Aboriginal Support Workers in the Victims Assistance Program.
  • Aboriginal Dispute Resolution Workers and Mediators.
  • Conflict resolution and lateral violence workshops for Aboriginal communities and Aboriginal community organisations.
  • Victoria Police Aboriginal Community Liaison Officers: community engagement and relationship building.
  • Local Aboriginal Justice Action Committees.
  • Grants for community organisations to improve community safety.
  • Djirra Women’s Place: an integrated case management service for Aboriginal women.

New opportunities

Over five years we will

Aboriginal Victims Assistance Support Workers
Underway

Aboriginal Victims Assistance Support Workers

Recruit additional Aboriginal Victims Assistance Support Workers in the Victims Assistance Program resulting in 9.3 FTE by 2021.
Access to Child Witness Service for Aboriginal Children
Not yet commenced

Access to Child Witness Service for Aboriginal Children

Work collaboratively with the Victims Assistance Program's Aboriginal Support Workers to strengthen pathways for Aboriginal Children to access the Child Witness Service when needing to attend court as a result of being a witness to a violent crime.
Koori Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal
Not yet commenced

Koori Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal

Strengthen the Koori Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT) list to increase resource capacity and ensure the demand of Aboriginal applications for assistance is met.
Mediation capacity building
Not yet commenced

Mediation capacity building

Build capacity in mediation skills within ACCOs and for community members to help resolve local disputes before they escalate.
Place-based community-led justice projects
Not yet commenced

Place-based community-led justice projects

Support Aboriginal communities to develop and implement projects that respond to local justice issues and needs.
Specialist Koori Family Violence Court Model
In development

Specialist Koori Family Violence Court Model

Develop and trial a Specialist Koori Family Violence Court Model drawing on best practice and current problem solving court principles.
Supports for Aboriginal victims of crime
Not yet commenced

Supports for Aboriginal victims of crime

Enhance access to supports for Aboriginal victims of crime and improve links between local Aboriginal and mainstream services using the case management support model.

Future possibilities

We will continue to work with Aboriginal communities to consider

Aboriginal victim support models
Future consideration

Aboriginal victim support models

Consider community- based Aboriginal victim support models for trial in select sites.
Restorative justice responses
Future consideration

Restorative justice responses

Consider restorative justice responses, such as healing circles and group conferencing across the criminal justice system.