Djirra welcomes the Victorian Government’s response to the Yoorrook for Justice report

Today the Victorian Government formally responded to the Yoorrook for Justice report, published by the Yoorrook Commission at the end of August 2023.

Djirra welcomes the Government’s recognition that reform of Victoria’s child protection and criminal justice systems is critical.

In particular, Djirra welcomes the Government’s in principle support for a mandatory child protection notification and referral system, which would ensure that early referral of a parent to a culturally safe legal service occurs whenever there are concerns about Aboriginal children’s safety.

We also welcome in principle support to address the unnecessary time limits that compel the permanent removal of our children from their mums.  

Djirra has strongly advocated for the establishment of a child protection notification and referral system for over a decade.

“Early access to legal representation and holistic support for Aboriginal women is absolutely critical to preventing the damaging and costly removal of our children from their mums, families and communities,” Djirra CEO Antoinette Braybrook AM says.

“Through our close work with Aboriginal women, we see first-hand the difference that access to early legal assistance and holistic wraparound support has for our women. We see the traumatic and unnecessary removal of children and the blaming of mums that experience family violence. We will continue to advocate for the right for all Aboriginal women wherever they are in Victoria to have access to the culturally safe legal services that Djirra provides.”

While Djirra welcomes the Victorian Government formally responding to the Yoorrook for Justice report, there is still much work to be done. For instance, we will continue to advocate for bail reform and raising the age of criminal responsibility to at least 14 years to prevent the unnecessary criminalisation and incarceration of our people and in particular Aboriginal women and children.

Djirra looks forward to working closely with the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing and other specialist partners to co-design and implement the child protection referral system, as quickly as possible.

Because our women deserve early access to culturally safe legal and non-legal supports, and our children belong with their mums.