The Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence has handed down its recommendations for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to adopt.
Source:
The Point
30 Mar 2016 - 8:22 PM  UPDATED 30 Mar 2016 - 5:22 PM

"We feel very encouraged by the report that Aboriginal women are front and centre in the report because Aboriginal women are too often silenced."

- Antoinette Braybrook, CEO of Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service Victoria.

Recommendation 1

The Victorian Government implement the recommendations of the mid-term evaluation of the Indigenous Family Violence Ten Year Plan [within two years].

Recommendation 2

The Victorian Government [within two years]:

  • continue to work in partnership with Aboriginal communities to develop a statewide strategic response to improving the lives of vulnerable Aboriginal children and young people.
  • increase investment in programs that provide ‘wrap-around’ support to parents and children, especially in the first five years of life, so that the trajectory into child protection for these vulnerable families is interrupted and reversed.
  • expand the Aboriginal component of Child FIRST to reduce the high rates of removal of Aboriginal children and provide consistency across Victoria.
  • examine factors that influenced the decline in admissions into out-of-home care in Outer Gippsland, Mallee, Goulburn and North Eastern Melbourne so that lessons can be learnt and applied to future policy and practice.

Recommendation 3

The Victorian Government give priority to providing adequate funding to Aboriginal community controlled organisations [within 12 months] for:

  • culturally appropriate family violence services for Aboriginal women and children.
  • family-centred services and programs—including programs that focus on cultural strengthening— therapeutic child-centred programs, and one-door integrated services where family members can obtain a range of supports.
  • culturally appropriate legal services for victims and perpetrators, to meet the increased demand for services and the need for statewide coverage.
  • crisis accommodation and support options for Aboriginal women and children based on core and cluster-style and best-practice models with access to longer term housing.
  • culturally appropriate services for Aboriginal men who perpetrate family violence—including access to suitable accommodation.
  • early intervention and prevention actions in Aboriginal communities—including whole-of-community activities and targeted programs.

"There's been major funding cuts to refuges, to community organisations that can assist women in domestic violence." - Charmaine Walden, Sydney Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service.

Recommendation 4

The Victorian Government, on the basis of the advice of the Indigenous Family Violence Partnership Forum, give priority to major service models for evaluation using culturally appropriate outcome measures, methodologies and providers [within three years].

The Victorian Government should also ensure that all Aboriginal family violence interventions are evaluated in a culturally appropriate manner and that this is adequately resourced to ensure that Aboriginal service providers have the capacity to support such an evaluation [within 12 months].

Recommendation 5

The Victorian Government ensure that funding agreements for mainstream family violence organisations incorporate a requirement for services to conduct cultural safety reviews and action plans in all areas of operations, governance, workforce and relationships with the community. Investment in Aboriginal service providers will be necessary to support this [within 12 months]

Recommendation 6

The Melbourne Magistrates’ Court resume the Koori Family Violence and Victims Support Program [within 12 months].

Recommendation 7

The Victorian Government, subject to the approval of the Aboriginal Justice Forum and inclusion of any necessary safeguards, extend the jurisdiction of the Koori Magistrates and County Courts to include offences where it is alleged that the defendant has contravened a family violence intervention order [within 12 months].

Recommendation 8

The Victorian Government ensure that Koori Family Violence Police Protocols are implemented in the remaining identified sites, with adequate resources and support provided to Elders and other community members providing cultural education to police in all sites (including those where protocols currently operate) [within two years].

Recommendation 9

Victoria Police, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Justice and Regulation and the Department of Education and Training improve the collection of Indigenous specific data relating to family violence so that this can be shared with communities, organisations and governance forums to inform local, regional and statewide responses [within 12 months].

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