Status in progress
2. Fewer Aboriginal people in the criminal justice system
2.4 Fewer Aboriginal people return to the criminal justice system
2.4.2 Drivers of people’s offending are addressed whilst in contact with the justice system
In progress
Justice Health, Department of Justice and Community Safety
Corrections Victoria, Department of Justice and Community Safety

Where we are up to

In 2022, the Department undertook a procurement process where the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS) was identified as the successful organisation to deliver the Continuity of Health Care Pilot. VAHS are currently recruiting to two positions based in the Victorian Prison System, which will work three days in-reach and two days out-reach, providing support for discharge planning and continuity of health care.

Cultural awareness training delivered by the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) was completed in 2022 for Justice Health and contracted health service providers. VACCHO trained a total of 126 staff this year.

The funding to continue delivery of culturally specific training is pending budget availability, however Justice Health and Aboriginal Health are working on a training and education plan focused on three levels – basic, intermediate and advanced.

The Aboriginal Healing Unit (AHU) project continues at a steady pace. Since the last update, regular monthly meetings have been held with the two project governance groups, the Project Control Group (PCG) and Community Reference Group (CRG). The CRG has two Aboriginal women with lived experience on the membership, with the AHU ensuring community engagement and input is at the forefront of this project. 

Relevant project documents have been completed, including a thorough market analysis for the tender procurement and specification and sourcing plan. This has allowed the project to progress to tender to engage an Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation (ACCO) to design and implement a suite of therapeutic programs suitable for the women at the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre. The tender was released in September 2022, with a comprehensive tender briefing forum held to inform the ACCOs of the service model principles and expectations, and provide information on the tender process and legalities. 

To continue the commitment of listening to the needs of the women, a publication “YOUR Voice Matters” was produced to capture the personal reflections around design and healing of the women currently in custody at Tarrengower and Dame Phyllis Frost Centre (DPFC). Yarning circles and location visits continue, thus strengthening and building trust and engagement for the women and staff at the prison locations.

The project is on track to reach its planned service commencement date of early 2023.


This project will consider culturally appropriate, holistic health care models in prisons including:

  • extending the Continuity of Health Care Pilot and the Continuity of Care strategy to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal people in custody and post-release
  • cultural safety training for health service providers in the adult and youth justice systems
  • trauma and grief informed health services in prisons
  • an 'Aboriginal Healing Unit'.