The Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework (VAAF)[i] is the government’s overarching framework that brings together government and Aboriginal community commitments and efforts to improve outcomes for Aboriginal Victorians. Burra Lotjpa Dunguludja contributes to making Aboriginal families and communities safer, and equitable justice outcomes. Since 2013, this has been underpinned by a commitment to close the gap between the rates of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people under justice supervision by 2031.
The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody concluded that addressing the various aspects of Aboriginal social and economic disadvantage is crucial for reducing Aboriginal involvement in the criminal justice system. In recent years, a range of strategies have been developed in partnership between Aboriginal Victorians and the Victorian Government to tackle these underlying issues, including:
- Victorian Aboriginal Economic Development Strategy 2013-2020 [ii]
- Marrung: Aboriginal Education Plan 2016-2026 [iii]
- Korin Korin Balit-Djak: Aboriginal Health, Wellbeing and Safety Strategic Plan 2017-2027 [iv]
- Balit Murrup: the Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing Framework 2017-2027 [v]
- Wungurilwil Gapgapduir Aboriginal Children and Families Agreement 2018 [vi]
- Ending Family Violence: Victoria’s Plan for Change.[vii]
The current 10 year plan, Strong Culture, Strong Peoples, Strong Families: Towards a safer future for Indigenous families and communities[viii] was released in 2008 and expires in 2018. Through the leadership of the Indigenous Family Violence Partnership Forum, it has provided the overarching framework to guide the Aboriginal community-led partnership with the Victorian Government to address family violence impacting Aboriginal Victorians. Family Safety Victoria is working with the Indigenous Family Violence Partnership Forum to develop the next Aboriginal 10 Year Family Violence Agreement.
These strategies, like Burra Lotjpa Dunguludja, are guided by the principle of self-determination. They have attracted significant government investment and lay the foundation to tackle the drivers of Aboriginal over-representation in the justice system. As a result of the considerable depth and spread of these new strategic investments, Burra Lotjpa Dunguludja will focus on improving the justice system, and reducing repeated contact with the system as its primary responses to addressing over-representation.
There are specific commitments under a number of these strategies that are directly related to, or intersect with justice outcomes, for example:
- Korin Korin Balit-Djak commits to providing support and transitional help to those leaving the justice system, prioritising the needs of young Aboriginal people leaving out-of-home care, expanding housing and homelessness services for Aboriginal people and culturally-informed AOD treatment services. It also commits government to partner with Aboriginal communities to co-design healing, grief, loss, trauma-informed and recovery approaches and tools for Aboriginal and mainstream services; support Aboriginal community-led initiatives that facilitate connection to culture, country and community for children and young people; and with support from other government agencies, work towards the establishment and sustainability of Gathering Places [ix].
- The first Family Violence Rolling Action Plan released under Ending Family Violence: Victoria’s Plan for Change provides for two new Aboriginal family violence refuges in 2020, the upgrade of 18 existing refuges, extra support for women who need crisis accommodation, resources for Aboriginal communities and services to deliver their own responses to family violence and the establishment of a Koori Women's Place in Melbourne[x].
Figure 10. Shared vision and outcomes with other government frameworks and plans
Accessible version of Figure 10: Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework
Burra Lotjpa Dunguludja
Balit Murrup Social and Emotional Wellbeing Framework 2017–2027
- Strengthening access to culturally responsive social and emotional wellbeing and mental health services
- Promotion of trauma-informed services
- Expansion of Aboriginal social and emotional wellbeing, mental health and alcohol and drug workforce.
Marrung Aboriginal Education Plan 2016-2026
- Koorie children and learns of all ages are strong in their identity
- Koorie students engage fully throughout their schooling years
- Koorie learners transition successfully into further education and development
- Koorie people have opportunities to access education at all stages of life.
Wungurilwil Gapgapduir Aboriginal Children and Families Agreement 2018
- Vision: All Aboriginal children and young people are safe, resilient, thriving and living in culturally rich, strong Aboriginal families and communities
- Aim: Eliminate the over-representation of Aboriginal children in child protection and out-of-home care, and reduce the number of those that progress to youth justice.
Strong Culture, Strong Peoples, Strong Families: Towards a safer future for Indigenous families and communities 2008-2018
- Make Victoria a safer place for all Indigenous Victorians
- Support strong, robust and healthy families that provide a safe, nurturing environment
- Increase the safety of Indigenous families and individuals, especially women and children.
Victorian Aboriginal Economic Development Strategy 2013-2020
- Increased labour force participation
- Strong communities and families that support young people to aspire to education and economic success
- Young Aboriginal people complete education with the skills to gain employment
- More access to a greater diversity of jobs across all sectors.
Korin Korin Balit-Djak Aboriginal health, wellbeing and safety strategic plan 2017-2027
- Aboriginal Victorians are connected to culture, country and community
- Aboriginal Victorians have stable, secure and appropriate housing
- Aboriginal children and families are thriving and empowered
- Aboriginal Victorians are resilient and have optimal social and emotional wellbeing.
[i] Department of Premier and Cabinet, 2012, Victorian Aboriginal Framework 2013-2018: Building for the Future: A Plan for ‘Closing the Gap’ by 2031, Victoria State Government.
[ii] Department of Premier and Cabinet, 2013, Victorian Aboriginal Economic Strategy 2013-2020, Victoria State Government.
[iii] Department of Education and Training, 2016, Marrung – Aboriginal Education Plan 2016-2026, Victoria State Government.
[iv] Department of Health and Human Services, 2017, Korin Korin Balit-Djak: Aboriginal health, Wellbeing and Safety Strategic Plan 2017-2027, Victoria State Government.
[v] Department of Health and Human Services, 2017, Balit Murrup: The Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing Framework 2017-2027, Victoria State Government.
[vi] Department of Health and Human Services, 2018, Wungurilwil Gapgapduir Aboriginal Children and Families Agreement 2018, Victoria State Government.
[vii] Department of Premier and Cabinet, 2016, Ending Family Violence: Victoria’s Plan for Change, Victoria State Government.
[viii] Department of Planning and Community Development, 2008, Strong Culture, Strong Peoples, Strong Families: Towards a safer future for Indigenous families and communities, Victoria State Government.
[ix] Department of Health and Human Services, 2017, Korin Korin Balit-Djak: Aboriginal health, Wellbeing and Safety Strategic Plan 2017-2027, Victoria State Government.
[x] Department of Premier and Cabinet, 2016, Family Violence Rolling Action Plan 2017-2020, Victoria State Government.