A message to Aboriginal children and young people
You carry the strength
And legacy of your old people
It’s through their strength
Love and resilience
We push through
Look after yourself
Look after your spirit
And know you are loved.
Koorie Youth Council
Advice to our readers
To our Aboriginal readers, we advise that this document may include photos, quotations and/or names of people who have passed.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living in Victoria and involved in the justice sector have diverse cultures. The term ‘Aboriginal’ is used when referring to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Australia. When referring to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Victoria, the term ‘Aboriginal’ is used. Other terms such as ‘Koori’, ‘Koorie’ and ‘Indigenous’ are retained in the names of programs, initiatives, publication titles and in reference to published data.
The term Aboriginal children and young people is used to refer to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children currently from or residing in Victoria.
The word family has many different meanings. Use of the words ‘family’ and ‘families’ is all encompassing and acknowledges the variety of relationships and structures that can make up a family unit, including family-like or care relationships and extended kinship structures.
The meaning of Wirkara Kulpa
Wirkara Kulpa means Alongside, next to talking/speaking in Barkindji/Paakantyi language.
This name was chosen by Aboriginal children and young people currently in the youth justice system. A range of language names were contributed by Traditional Owners and Custodians from across Victoria in response to requests from the Aboriginal Justice Caucus.
We offer our sincere thanks to Uncle Ivan Johnson and Uncle Peter Peterson who provided a selection of language names in Barkindji/Paakantyi language. One of which, Wirkara Kulpa, was chosen by Aboriginal children and young people as the language name for this Strategy.
“We wanted to talk about the young people talking and walking alongside one another and talking at the same time to Elders. Because that’s the only way they will be able to listen and listen to Elders; by walking alongside each other and talking together.”
Uncle Ivan Johnson and Uncle Peter Peterson
Wirkara Kulpa is written for and by Aboriginal children and young people and captures the aspirations and changes Aboriginal children and young people, their families and communities want to see.
Wikara Kulpa is focused on supporting Aboriginal children and young people so they remain outside the youth justice system and can live culturally rich lives.
It has been led by the Aboriginal Justice Caucus, under the umbrella of the Aboriginal Justice Agreement, and is a key initiative of Burra Lotjpa Dunguludja (AJA4) and the Youth Justice Strategic Plan 2020-2030 .
Aboriginal self-determination is the foundational principle that has shaped the development of the Aboriginal Youth Justice Strategy:
Self-determination is doing business our way. Things work better if we implement community led solutions. If it’s our vision we will work towards, then our kids will grow up strong.
Our guiding principles
A set of guiding principles has informed Wikara Kulpa’s development and will help to achieve our vision.
These principles are underpinned by, and informed by self-determination and guide all Wirkara Kulpa’s actions.
These principles are centred around:
- amplifying children and young people’s voice and participation
- Aboriginal cultural values and connection
- valuing the strengths of Aboriginal children and young people
- supporting child and family centred approaches
- embedding trauma informed healing approaches
- promoting and protecting children and young people’s rights.
Aboriginal children and young people are not in the youth justice system. This is because they are strong in their culture, connected to families and communities, and living healthy, safe, resilient, thriving and culturally rich lives.