Friday, 24 April 2015

More support for Victoria’s Aboriginal communities

The Commission welcomes the announcement of a $180,000 funding boost from the Victorian Government to support Victoria's Aboriginal communities.

The funds will assist in the implementation of Regional Aboriginal Justice Plans developed by Victoria's nine Regional Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committees.

The plans outline community-based responses to local justice issues for Aboriginal people. They include initiatives to improve educational outcomes and employment opportunities while reducing youth offending, lowering imprisonment rates and addressing family violence.

The plans also promote participation in cross-agency and partnership forums to address disadvantage faced by the Aboriginal community and examine their interaction with the justice system.

Commission research into Koorie women in prison found many Koori female prisoners had experienced family violence, sexual abuse and intergenerational trauma. Homelessness before and after prison was also common.

The report, Unfinished business: Koori women and the justice system, discovered that while at any one time around 30 Koori women will be in Victorian prisons, many cycle through the system multiple times, often on short sentences, or on remand and then not sentenced.

The report made 29 recommendations to agencies across government to address over-representation of Koori women across the criminal justice system and identified principles of effective intervention to guide the further development of prevention, diversion and post-release programs.

Read the report, or find out how Aboriginal rights are protected by law.

The funding announcement was made at a recent meeting of the Aboriginal Justice Forum, of which the Commission is a proud member.