Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay says Canberrans will soon have access to additional support should they find themselves engaged in the justice system after the passing of a loved one.
Mr Ramsay said the Coroners Amendment Bill 2020 would better respond to the needs of families dealing with the coronial system and make it easier for the Coroner’s Court to implement restorative approaches in its daily work.
“The amendments contained in this Bill are one part of a larger project of reform and have been significantly informed by feedback received from families with lived experiences of ACT coronial inquests about what they feel would have assisted them in their personal journeys through the Coroner’s Court,” Mr Ramsay said.
“This legislation acknowledges the significant impact that an inquest or inquiry may have on the family and friends of a deceased person by ensuring that, wherever possible and at the earliest opportunity, families are able to engage with the process and be kept informed of the particulars and progress of an inquest into their family member’s death.”
He said the Bill had been developed as part of the ‘Canberra as a Restorative City’ initiative.
“A ‘restorative city’ is one that uses the principles of support, accountability and respect to create a shared approach to problem solving,” Mr Ramsay said.
“The reforms within the Bill will play an important part in ensuring that the community continue to see Canberra as a city that values a meaningful and restorative approach to justice.”
The Minister also announced that the Coroner’s Court would begin recruitment for a Family Liaison Officer position to provide support to families and friends of deceased Canberrans as they progress through the Court system.
“After speaking directly with families with lived experience in the system, it was abundantly clear to me that the recruitment of a Family Liaison Officer was a top priority,” Mr Ramsay said.