Publication date: Monday, 2 July 2018
The Attorney General, Mark Speakman, and Treasurer Dominic Perrottet have recently announced that the Youth Koori Court will receive funding to expand to a new location at Surry Hills Children's Court.
The Youth Koori Court was established as a pilot program at Parramatta Children's Court in February 2015.
The Youth Koori Court hearings are conducted in a culturally respectful manner that benefits from the experienced team of participants, including Aboriginal Elders and respected people, lawyers, prosecutors and social service agencies.
Together with the Aboriginal young person, the participants devise an Action and Support Plan to identify and address any social disadvantages and issues which operate as risk factors for further offending.
The Action and Support Plans have assisted the Aboriginal young people to take important steps towards an alternative pathway away from ongoing offending, such as finding stable accommodation, getting back into school or finding a job, addressing any health (including drug and alcohol) issues and improving connection to culture.
An evaluation of the Youth Koori Court revealed that a key difference for young people between the Youth Koori Court and the regular court process was that they understood what was happening in court. The evaluation found that a young person's comprehension was key to engaging them in the court process, and improving their confidence in the justice system.
The Youth Koori Court currently operates one day per week at Parramatta Children's Court, and will be expanded to operate initially on a fortnightly basis at Surry Hills Children's Court and then weekly once the program is established.
Above: Youth Koori Court expands to Surry Hills.