A more effective justice system with greater Aboriginal control

Goal

3.1

The needs of Aboriginal people are met through a more culturally-informed and safe system

Outcomes

3.1.1

Justice programs and services are culturally safe, responsive, inclusive and effective

3.1.2

More people are able to access justice programs and services that are trauma informed, restorative and therapeutic

Good access to culturally-appropriate service responses for Aboriginal people is required to improve justice outcomes. There are many barriers preventing the Aboriginal community from engaging with justice services. This has been confirmed in a number of reviews including the Victorian Government’s Access to Justice Review, which clearly articulated that the needs of Aboriginal people are currently inadequately addressed. Areas highlighted by the review include high levels of mistrust of the law and government, translating into unmet legal need and intensifying disadvantage and exclusion from the justice system; and avoidance and delay in seeking assistance because of shame, lack of knowledge and fear of repercussions. Aboriginal women are recognised as one of the most disadvantaged groups in Australia facing significant barriers to accessing justice services, including lack of awareness of rights and options.

The importance of cultural safety in the provision of services to Aboriginal people cannot be under-estimated. A culturally safe system is one in which people feel safe, where there is no challenge or need for the denial of their identity, and where their needs are met. A culturally-responsive system is one in which non-Aboriginal people take responsibility to understand the importance of culture, country and community to Aboriginal health, wellbeing and safety, by working with Aboriginal communities to design and deliver culturally-responsive services.

 

Strategies

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Enable Aboriginal stakeholders to self-determine program outcomes, design, deliver and evaluate justice services for Aboriginal people.

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Ensure that protection of cultural rights, protocols, principles, ethics and standards underpin all justice business.

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Strengthen human rights protections for Aboriginal people involved in justice programs and services.

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Build the capacity of justice services to provide family-centred, wrap around, holistic programs and services that promote the healing of the individual and contribute to the wellbeing of the community.

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Justice agencies focus on improving the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal individuals and communities as a critical outcome of their work.

 

Existing initiatives

  • Magistrates’, Children’s and County Koori Courts.
  • Aboriginal roles and courts hearing days in the Neighbourhood Justice Centre.
  • Aboriginal cultural spaces in prisons and Youth Justice Centres.
  • Consumer Affairs Aboriginal Liaison Officer.
  • Aboriginal Community Justice Panels: support the safety of Aboriginal people who are taken into police custody.
  • Yarrwul Loitjba Yapaneyepuk: Department of Justice and Regulation Koori Inclusion Action Plan.
  • Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing Plan to improve the mental health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people in prison.
  • Department of Justice and Regulation Koori Cultural Respect Framework.

New opportunities

Over five years we will

Aboriginal culture in courts
Underway

Aboriginal culture in courts

Consider building the presence of Aboriginal culture in courts with place naming, language, increasing the role of Elders, and displaying Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags and artefacts.
Additional Aboriginal Liaison Officer
Underway

Additional Aboriginal Liaison Officer

Recruit an additional Aboriginal Liaison Officer to assist Aboriginal children and young people in Youth Justice Centres.
Cultural safety standards
In development

Cultural safety standards

Develop cultural safety standards for health services in the adult and youth justice systems.
Enhance support for Aboriginal Community Justice Panels
Not yet commenced

Enhance support for Aboriginal Community Justice Panels

Enhance support for Aboriginal Community Justice Panels and their volunteers so they can assist Aboriginal people in police custody in more locations.
Expand Koori Courts
Underway

Expand Koori Courts

Expand Koori Courts to additional locations across three jurisdictions: County Court, Magistrates’ Court and the Children’s Court.
Family violence orders in Koori Courts
In development

Family violence orders in Koori Courts

Commence hearing contraventions of family violence intervention orders in at least one pilot Magistrates’ Koori Court location.
Family violence workforce training
Not yet commenced

Family violence workforce training

Deliver workforce training to ensure staff understand Aboriginal experiences of family violence.
Human Rights considerations
Not yet commenced

Human Rights considerations

Ensure staff in justice agencies take human rights into account when making decisions.
Koori Garden
Not yet commenced

Koori Garden

Maintain and improve the Koori Garden at Parkville Youth Justice Centre.
Koori Independent Prison Visitor Scheme
Not yet commenced

Koori Independent Prison Visitor Scheme

Review and co-design the Koori Independent Prisoner Visitor Scheme to enable greater representation of Aboriginal community volunteers in the Scheme.
Koori Registrar in Coroner's Court
Not yet commenced

Koori Registrar in Coroner's Court

Recruit a designated Koori Registrar in the Coroners Court to ensure coronial practices are both culturally aware and appropriate.
Respond to AJA3 Evaluation recommendations
Not yet commenced

Respond to AJA3 Evaluation recommendations

Respond to the recommendations of the AJA3 Place-Based Evaluation, particularly in the design and development of new place-based initiatives under this Agreement.

Future possibilities

We will continue to work with Aboriginal communities to consider

Aboriginal Education and Research Officer
Future consideration

Aboriginal Education and Research Officer

Consider continuing the Aboriginal Education and Research Officer position within the Judicial College of Victoria to improve the cultural competency of courts and tribunals.
Multi jurisidiction Koori Liaison Officers
Future consideration

Multi jurisidiction Koori Liaison Officers

Consider establishing Koori Liaison Officer roles that can operate across court jurisdictions, including Magistrates’ Court locations without Koori Courts.
Success factors for program delivery
Future consideration

Success factors for program delivery

Consider research projects to identify success factors for program delivery to Aboriginal offenders and improve the evidence base.
Therapeutic courts
Future consideration

Therapeutic courts

Consider a culturally appropriate model for a multi-jurisdictional therapeutic and specialised healing court for Aboriginal accused with multiple and complex needs.