In late 2017, VEOHRC and CCYP partnered to conduct a series of interviews with youth justice stakeholders and Aboriginal cultural knowledge holders about how young people in Victoria’s youth justice centres could be better supported to maintain and develop their connections to culture and community.
Due to the over-representation of Aboriginal young people in the Victorian youth justice system, and recognising the importance of culture as a protective and rehabilitative factor, this project aims to:
- identify practices that improve cultural connection for Koori youth in youth justice centres
- build the awareness, understanding and use of cultural rights for those involved with youth justice centres
We interviewed people who work closely with Koori young people, including state-wide Aboriginal community controlled organisations (ACCOs), community members of the Aboriginal Justice Forum and relevant government agencies. We conducted 15 interviews with more than 35 participants, the majority being Aboriginal community members. Unless otherwise referenced, all quotes in this publication are from these interviews.
We did not speak directly with young people due to other projects underway that are engaging with young people involved in the justice system. However, we stress the importance of having young people’s voices and views at the forefront of developing new policies and procedures and implementing change.
This publication draws on the advice received through our interviews and makes eight recommendations to the Department of Justice and Regulation as the agency responsible for the management of youth justice centres.