• Aboriginal Family Law Services

    Helping prevent family violence for a safer community.

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  • Ochre Ribbon Campaign

    Aboriginal people will not tolerate violence against our men, women and children.

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MEDIA RELEASE (30.06.21): Alarming report on conditions in the Banksia Hill Detention Centre  

A key stakeholder in the Pilbara, West Kimberley and Goldfields regions has expressed concerns about findings in the Office of the Inspector of Custodial Services’ report on the Banksia Hill Detention Centre.   

The Inspection Report, which was recently handed down in Parliament, revealed that Aboriginal young people continue to be overrepresented in the state’s only detention centre for offenders aged 10-17, making up 74 per cent of the custodial population, and more than a third of whom are seriously displaced from their homes and their families in regional Western Australia.  

Aboriginal Family Legal Services WA, a specialist Family Violence organisation which provides legal assistance, preventative education and social supports for Aboriginal victims of family and domestic violence throughout remote and regional Western Australia, said that the findings of the report, particularly regarding Aboriginal children, were problematic.  

Particularly concerning was the scant and inconsistent consideration of the need to reflect Aboriginal culture and deliver services, to an overwhelmingly Aboriginal population, in a culturally relevant way. Failures to feature cultural activities in daily operations and reports of an “underwhelming and seldom used” cultural meeting place are negligent of the importance of culture to Aboriginal young people and ignorant of the impact that culture can have on a young person’s rehabilitation.  

AFLS CEO Corina Martin said that the young people in Banksia Hill have often themselves been traumatised and victimized, leading to their offending. “These are some of our state’s most vulnerable children, who have experienced significant trauma in their own lives and likely only been drawn into criminal activity due to circumstances out of their control”. For AFLS, the finding that there are still some “missed opportunities” to draw on culture and close the gap for Aboriginal young people is troubling.  

Ms. Martin also questioned the failure to appoint an Aboriginal Health Worker to the Centre, despite suggestions from the Office of the Inspector in previous reports on Banksia Hill that the Department of Justice do just that. “Other nurses may be experienced in working with Aboriginal patients and may have a level of cultural competency, but an Aboriginal Health Worker is likely going to feel more accessible to young people and be critical to improving their health outcomes”.  

And, despite research by the Telethon Kids Institute in 2015 and 2016 finding that “almost 90 per cent of detainees had at least one domain of severe neurodevelopmental impairment”, the report found that Banksia Hill has no Education Assistants and only two Aboriginal Education Officers for the whole school, who “simply didn’t have the capacity and were typically only able to spend half a day in each classroom once a week”.  

Ms. Martin urged the WA Government to consider the significant rehabilitative impact of education to young people and the importance of cultural competency in that service.  

 

“We must ensure that we are supporting our young people, who are among the highest need and vulnerable in the state, to connect to their culture and access culturally safe health and education services. It is the only way to guarantee that we are giving them the best chance to turn their lives around and rehabilitate positively into the community.”  

Media Contact – Laney Gould 9355 1502  

 

 

MEDIA RELEASE (30.06.21): Alarming report on use of force against Aboriginal people in prisons across Western Australia   

A key stakeholder in the Pilbara, West Kimberley and Goldfields regions has expressed concerns about findings in the Office of the Inspector of Custodial Services’ report on the use of force against prisoners in Western Australia.   

The Inspection Report, which was recently handed down in Parliament, revealed that force is used more often on Aboriginal prisoners, with the overrepresentation of prisoners in use of force incidents “apparent at almost every prison in Western Australia”.  

Aboriginal Family Legal Services WA, a specialist Family Violence organisation which provides legal assistance, preventative education and social supports for Aboriginal victims of family and domestic violence throughout remote and regional Western Australia, said that the findings of the report were problematic.  

Particularly concerning was the finding that although Aboriginal people made up on average only 39% of the prison population in Western Australia, they were involved in more than half of all reported use of force incidences (55%).  

AFLS CEO Corina Martin said that the overrepresentation of Aboriginal people in use of force incidents was likely partly a result of undiagnosed cognitive impairments, misinterpreted as contempt of prison officers and misbehavior. “These are some of the state’s most vulnerable people, who have experienced a lifetime and trauma, likely have undiagnosed FASD, and who have been drawn into criminal activity due to circumstances outside of their control”.  

And, while there was an overall drop in the use of force against female prisoners, Aboriginal women remained overrepresented in use of force incidents in prisons across Western Australia. Since 2016, Aboriginal women have made up between 45 and 47 per cent of the female prisoner population, yet they have been involved in “upwards of 65 per cent of recorded use of force incidents involving women”. For AFLS, the finding that, just like the trend for Aboriginal prisoners generally, there was “no explanation” for the overrepresentation of Aboriginal women in use of force incidences, is troubling.  

Ms. Martin also queried the unclear policy and reporting practices which failed to ensure use of force was controlled effectively. “The report tells us that 80% of all incidents in WA prisons involved physical force between 2016 and 2020, yet only 20 times were prisoners recorded as having physical force used on them in the same period? The inherent failures in the reporting system are leaving our prisoners, who are real people, more vulnerable to excess use of force and reduced chances of positive rehabilitation into the community”.   

Ms. Martin urged the WA Government to review its practices in the use of force and ensure that Aboriginal prisoners do not continue to be overrepresented in use of force incidents in WA prisons.  

Media Contact – Laney Gould 9355 1502  

 


With the end of financial year fast approaching, consider donating to our Family Violence Prevention and Legal Services (FVPLS) organisations to help keep Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children safe from family violence.Violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children is a national crisis.Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experience family violence at alarming and vastly disproportionate rates that continue to rise. Nationally, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are:

  • 32 times more likely to be hospitalised due to family violence; and
  • 10 times more likely to die due to assault.
Across Australia, the 14 FVPLS organisations that comprise the National Family Violence Prevention and Legal Services Forum (National FVPLS Forum) provide holistic, culturally-safe and specialist support services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experiencing or at risk of family violence including:

  • frontline legal and non-legal support
  • outreach to women in prison
  • family violence early intervention and prevention programs
  • community education and cultural awareness
  • policy, advocacy and law reform
Nationally, over 95% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people accessing our FVPLS services are women and children. Despite the many challenges that COVID-19 has presented, FVPLSs have continued to provide crucial services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children to keep them safe from family violence. Your donation can make a big difference to the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children experiencing or at risk of family violence.

Support FVPLSs to keep making a difference

We thank you for supporting the work of FVPLSs and appreciate your ongoing support to #saveFVPLS. To donate, visit the webpages or directly contact via email below:

New South Wales

Binaal Billa Family Violence Prevention Legal Service www.binaalbilla.com.au
Many Rivers Family Violence Prevention Legal Service www.gurehlgam.com.au/mrfvpls/
Thiyama-li Family Violence Service Inc thiyamali.com.au
Warra-Warra Family Violence Prevention Legal Service  www.farwestclc.org.au

Northern Territory

Central Australian Aboriginal Family Legal Unit www.caaflu.com.au
North Australian Aboriginal Family Violence Legal Service www.naafls.com.au
Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council Domestic and Family Violence Service www.npywc.org.au/what-we-do/domestic-and-family-violence/

Queensland

Aboriginal Family Legal Service Southern Queensland tabatha.young@aflssq.org.au
Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Service www.qifvls.com.au

South Australia

Family Violence Legal Service Aboriginal Corporation www.fvlsac.org.au

Victoria

Djirra http://givenow.com.au/fvpls

Western Australia

Aboriginal Family Legal Services WA https://www.afls.org.au/
Marninwarnitkura Family Violence Prevention Unit WA mwrc.com.au/pages/legal-services#
Southern Aboriginal Corporation Family Violence Prevention Legal Service www.sacorp.com.au/fvpls

With the end of financial year fast approaching, consider donating to our Family Violence Prevention and Legal Services (FVPLS) organisations to help keep Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children safe from family violence.Violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children is a national crisis.Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experience family violence at alarming and vastly disproportionate rates that continue to rise. Nationally, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are:

  • 32 times more likely to be hospitalised due to family violence; and
  • 10 times more likely to die due to assault.
Across Australia, the 14 FVPLS organisations that comprise the National Family Violence Prevention and Legal Services Forum (National FVPLS Forum) provide holistic, culturally-safe and specialist support services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experiencing or at risk of family violence including:

  • frontline legal and non-legal support
  • outreach to women in prison
  • family violence early intervention and prevention programs
  • community education and cultural awareness
  • policy, advocacy and law reform
Nationally, over 95% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people accessing our FVPLS services are women and children. Despite the many challenges that COVID-19 has presented, FVPLSs have continued to provide crucial services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children to keep them safe from family violence. Your donation can make a big difference to the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children experiencing or at risk of family violence.

Support FVPLSs to keep making a difference

We thank you for supporting the work of FVPLSs and appreciate your ongoing support to #saveFVPLS. To donate, visit the webpages or directly contact via email below:

New South Wales

Binaal Billa Family Violence Prevention Legal Service www.binaalbilla.com.au
Many Rivers Family Violence Prevention Legal Service www.gurehlgam.com.au/mrfvpls/
Thiyama-li Family Violence Service Inc thiyamali.com.au
Warra-Warra Family Violence Prevention Legal Service  www.farwestclc.org.au

Northern Territory

Central Australian Aboriginal Family Legal Unit www.caaflu.com.au
North Australian Aboriginal Family Violence Legal Service www.naafls.com.au
Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council Domestic and Family Violence Service www.npywc.org.au/what-we-do/domestic-and-family-violence/

Queensland

Aboriginal Family Legal Service Southern Queensland tabatha.young@aflssq.org.au
Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Service www.qifvls.com.au

South Australia

Family Violence Legal Service Aboriginal Corporation www.fvlsac.org.au

Victoria

Djirra http://givenow.com.au/fvpls

Western Australia

Aboriginal Family Legal Services WA https://www.afls.org.au/
Marninwarnitkura Family Violence Prevention Unit WA mwrc.com.au/pages/legal-services#
Southern Aboriginal Corporation Family Violence Prevention Legal Service www.sacorp.com.au/fvpls

Help stop the spread of COVID-19

We can’t see COVID-19 but it effects everybody.

We are still providing legal services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander survivors of domestic, family and sexual violence in regional Western Australia amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But our procedures have changed to keep everyone healthy and safe.
From Monday 18 May our Doors will be open for face to face appointments.

Welcome

We support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander survivors of family and sexual violence through community education, early intervention and legal advocacy.

Services

We provide legal and support services for all Aboriginal people who have experienced family violence or sexual assault.

Family Law

We can assist people with their family law matters when there are children involved. We represent clients in the Family Court WA, and help clients work out parenting agreements. We focus on what is best for the children.

Read More

Child Protection

We assist people dealing with the Department of Child Protection and Family Support in childcare and protection matters. We can help you to talk to the Department about children remaining safely in your care.

Read More

Criminal Injury Compensation

Eligibility advice for criminal injuries compensation, including for injuries, medical expenses and lost income. We assist with applications, and helping to obtain documents such as medical reports.

Read More

Family Violence Restraining Orders

We help people who have been hurt by partners or family members. We can assist in applications for Family Violence Restraining Orders (FVROs) and will apply to the Court for an interim restraining order.

Read More

Non-Legal Support

We provide non-legal support and case management in the form of community education and engagement, crisis intervention and client referrals. We can advocate for clients, and help in safety planning for families.

Read More

Social Support

Our social workers provide culturally-safe and trauma-informed approaches. They help clients through the demands of their legal process, develop safety strategies, and build social and emotional wellbeing.

Read More

“Thank you AFLS for your presentation to our nursing team. We continue to use your valuable resources and look forward to working with you again.”

ROBYN MACGREGORGOLDFIELDS MENTAL HEALTH INPATIENT SERVICE
Membership

Stronger Together

We encourage all Aboriginal people concerned about Family Violence to join our organisation. Our members are drawn from the six regions in which we operate, and also include Perth. You need to be at least 18 years of age to become a member.

Join Us

Campaign

Ochre Ribbon

Violence within Aboriginal communities against women, children and men has increased to alarming levels. The Ochre Ribbon Campaign highlights the need to stop this violence, and works to strengthen advances in prevention initiatives from other agencies and campaigns.

Read More

Stay up to date

Join our mailing list

AFLS are happy to offer our support in sponsoring the Australian Police Golden Oldies Rugby

AFLS has taken on a number of new challenges this year. The Murdoch University collaboration is an exciting project (read more on page 11) and we’ve opened our first Community Support Officer role in Ardyaloon (One Arm Point).

The Ochre Ribbon event in February was a wonderful success. Thank you to all of the speakers and guests for coming along and making the day so memorable and inspiring. The other big news is that AFLS launched its Facebook page which we urge all of our members to view and friend us!

Take a look at the full newsletter!

Aboriginal Family Law Services’ board member Hannah McGlade is from the Noongar people and is the senior Indigenous research fellow at Curtin University. In her recent opinion piece for The Saturday Paper, “Raising black women’s voices”, Hannah writes:

Black women know the Australian state was built on such violence and that the instruments of law, the police and courts, can never really be trusted to protect black women’s bodies.

Read the full article here.

Click here to add your own text

AFLS are happy to offer our support in sponsoring the Australian Police Golden Oldies Rugby

AFLS has taken on a number of new challenges this year. The Murdoch University collaboration is an exciting project (read more on page 11) and we’ve opened our first Community Support Officer role in Ardyaloon (One Arm Point).

The Ochre Ribbon event in February was a wonderful success. Thank you to all of the speakers and guests for coming along and making the day so memorable and inspiring. The other big news is that AFLS launched its Facebook page which we urge all of our members to view and friend us!

Take a look at the full newsletter!

Aboriginal Family Law Services’ board member Hannah McGlade is from the Noongar people and is the senior Indigenous research fellow at Curtin University. In her recent opinion piece for The Saturday Paper, “Raising black women’s voices”, Hannah writes:

Black women know the Australian state was built on such violence and that the instruments of law, the police and courts, can never really be trusted to protect black women’s bodies.

Read the full article here.

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Click here to add your own text