It is time to own the past.
While the Yoorrook Justice Commission’s role is to look into both past and ongoing injustices experienced by Traditional Owners and First Peoples in Victoria in all areas of life since colonisation; this is not the first time truth telling has occurred. The massacre sites in Victoria are well known. As are the Governments’ forced removal-of-children policies, practices and their impacts, as well as Victoria’s current growing rates of Aboriginal child removals. The most important truth this commission can unlock is what Government has done (failed to do) to rectify these truths.
Late 2021, the Victorian Parliament Legal and Social Issues Committee announced an Inquiry into Children of Imprisoned parents. Looking at the social, emotional and health impacts on children and the effectiveness of current policies and services available.
CEO Muriel Bamblett spoke at a public hearing for the Inquiry in April, highlighting four key themes for government to focus when looking at interventions for working with children of imprisoned parents including communities, evidence coordination and children’s voice.
The final report is due in July 2022.
Click here to read VACCA's submission
Click here to read our submission in response to the Victims of Crime Commissioner’s Reporting on Compliance with the Victims Charter Discussion Paper.
In June 2020, the Legal and Social Issues Committee announced an inquiry into the various issues associated with the operation of Victoria’s justice system. In particular; factors influencing growing prison populations, strategies to reduce recidivism, how to ensure judges have the appropriate knowledge to inform sentencing decisions and consideration of judicial appointment processes.
VACCAs submission offered observations and recommendations as they pertain to the children, young people and families with whom we work with. In particular, highlighting the need for systemic and social change to address the growing number of Aboriginal women and children in out-of-home care entering the criminal justice system.
In February 2020, VACCA provided input into the Council of Attorneys-General (CAG) Age of Criminal Responsibility Working Group Review.
The Working Group is chaired by the Department of Justice, Western Australia, and includes representation from Victoria, along with each state, territory and Commonwealth Government.
VACCA's submission addresses the distinctive issues and context shaping the over-representation of Aboriginal children and young people in the youth justice system, and advocates for systemic changes to be made nationally to the youth justice system - drawing on both national and Victorian policy contexts.
Read VACCA's submission on the Age of Criminal Responsibility Working Group Review to the Council of Attorneys-General.
Click here to read our submission to the Inquiry into Spent Convictions by the Legislative Council Legal and Social Issues Committee.
In May 2019, the Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP) established the ‘Our youth, our way’ inquiry into the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in Victoria’s youth justice system. The inquiry emerged as part of the work from the Koori Youth Justice Taskforce, a partnership between the Department of Justice and Community Safety and the Commission.
As an Aboriginal child welfare organisation, over-representation is an issue of extreme concern to VACCA given the well-established pathway from OOHC into the justice system. VACCAs submission responds to the questions posed by the Commission includes information and recommendations on what strategies and programs work well in Victoria, what systemic changes are required and how the system could be more culturally appropriate to meeting the needs of Aboriginal children and young people.
In October 2020, the Victorian Law Reform Commission announced a review into Victoria’s laws relating to rape, sexual assault and associated adult and child sexual offences. The purpose of the review is to identify opportunities and improve the justice systems response to sexual offences. VACCA’s submission responded to eight of the Issues Papers released by the Commission as part of the review.
The Victorian Law Reform Commission is expected to release a report on their findings by 31 August 2021. You can find more information about the inquiry here.
Content warning: These materials relate to sexual assault and/or violence, and some content may be confronting or disturbing. If you need support, help is available.