Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Support services and programs are available to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons with legal problems and court matters.
Koori court officers and or Koori engagement officers are available at Magistrates’ Court venues where a Koori Court is available.
They play an important role and:
- work with the Koori community to help with understanding the court process
- provide non-legal advice and support
- ensure judicial officers have access to information to support culturally appropriate outcomes.
See the Koori Court page for more information.
The Magistrates’ Court also provides support through the Court Integrated Support Program (CISP). Koori CISP officers are available at the:
- Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court
- Latrobe Valley Magistrates’ Court
- Melbourne Magistrates’ Court
- Shepparton Magistrates’ Court.
See the bail support page for more information about CISP.
Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service (VALS)
VALS is a community legal centre providing legal support and services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons.
See the VALS website for contact details and information about their support services.
Koori family violence
If you or someone in your community is experiencing sexual assault or family violence, you can apply for a family violence intervention order.
You should contact the police if you are in immediate danger or feel unsafe.
Contact your nearest Magistrates’ Court or go to the family violence section for more information.
Umalek Balit, meaning give strength, is a culturally safe program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who come to court for family violence-related proceedings. It aims to build the court’s knowledge of Koori people, their history and culture and better understand the dynamics of family violence in Koori communities. It also provides culturally appropriate support, information and referral services to Koori people on:
- family violence intervention orders
- family violence related criminal matters
- the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal.
The Umalek Balit program has women’s and men’s family violence practitioners who have specialist cultural and family violence knowledge.
Umalek Balit can support you if:
- you are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
- you are a non-Aboriginal partner or family member of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person
- you have Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children
- and you are accessing the court for family violence related proceedings.
To access Umalek Balit services contact your nearest Magistrates’ Court or email the Koori Family Violence Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aboriginal Family Violence Legal Service (AFVLS) at Djirra
Djirra provides culturally safe and holistic support, and specialist family violence legal assistance and representation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The service is for people who are experiencing, or have in the past, family violence and sexual assault – predominantly women and children.
See Djirra’s website for more information: www.djirra.org.au.
Koori victims of crime
If you are a victim of crime, you and your family may be entitled to free support through the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT).
The Koori VOCAT list has been operating since 2006 and provides Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people access to entitlements under the Victims of Crime Assistance Act 1996. For more information on how to seek support through VOCAT, go to Koori Victims of Crime.
Dhumbumana Healing Strategy
Applicants can also receive additional help through the Dhumbumana Healing Strategy 2021-2023. The strategy is focused on engaging with Koori victims of crime to assist their journey to healing. The word Dhumbumana comes from the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation and means help.
For more information, visit the Dhumbumana Healing Strategy on the VOCAT website.