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New text message reminder service for NSW Aboriginal court users

NSW Aboriginal court users are benefiting from a new text message reminder service introduced by the Department of Justice that is designed to help them meet their obligation to turn up to court.

The SMS service is currently available at 10 courthouses across the state including Toronto, Mt Druitt, Dubbo, Condobolin, Walgett, Penrith, Broken Hill, Bourke, the Downing Centre in Sydney's CBD and the Parramatta Children's Court.

Director of the Aboriginal Services Division Edwina Crawford said the service has been so successful another six locations will be added to the network before the end of the year including Taree, Kempsey, Moree, Batemans Bay, Nowra and Wagga Wagga.

"The text message reminder service is a simple, but highly effective way to encourage Aboriginal clients who are on bail to turn up to court so they meet their legal obligations," Ms Crawford said.

"A text message might cost as little as five cents, yet an SMS reminder could be the difference between one of our clients turning up at court or failing to appear and having a warrant issued for their arrest.

"Since it was introduced, we have seen the number of Aboriginal people failing to appear at court drop by 20 per cent across the state and we are hoping this positive trend continues as we expand the program.

"The SMS reminder service is just one of the many successful initiatives we have introduced to improve the justice experience for Aboriginal clients in NSW.

"The Department has a team of 17 dedicated Aboriginal Client Service Specialists who work closely with Indigenous communities across the state to deliver a range of culturally sensitive support services and outreach programs.

"The text message reminder service is a great example of how we are reducing the barriers between Aboriginal communities and the courts.

 "Our aim is to improve the overall quality of justice related services for Aboriginal victims of crime, court users and their families so they can have more confidence in the way we operate."