26 September 2023

New safety plan for Aboriginal FDV

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The Department of Justice has developed a new safety strategy for responding to the needs of Aboriginal families with members in prison as perpetrators or victims of family and domestic violence (FDV).

Highlighted by the Office of the Inspector of Custodial Services, the Department’s Aboriginal Family Safety Strategy aims at making courts and prisons more responsive to the needs of Aboriginal families experiencing domestic violence.

Director General of the Department, Adam Tomison said the strategy aligned with broader WA Government policy, and articulated how the Department intended to support and work with perpetrators of family violence in Aboriginal communities.

“We are in a unique position to work with individuals in our care who are impacted by FDV,” Dr Tomison said.

“We do so through delivery of a suite of rehabilitation programs to FDV offenders which are being strengthened and reinvigorated,” he said.

“This will allow for increased flexibility, accessibility and remote delivery, helping reduce recidivism and future harm to the community.”

The Department’s strategy complements a broader FDV Strategic Framework which details actions over the next three years.

The Department’s reforms include enabling offender programs to follow prisoners as they progress through custody and release as “this will help improve the reach and timeliness of programs for prisoners who need to meet treatment conditions as part of their parole reviews”.

The Inspector of Custodial Services’ report commended the Department’s work in introducing a trauma-informed approach in providing services to women prisoners.

That includes counselling for women who have suffered abuse and violence, and programs that assist and support them in finding safety in the community upon release.

The report praises a pilot FDV Prison Exit Program at Bandyup and Melaleuca women’s prisons that will provide legal and support services before release such as obtaining family violence restraining orders (FVROs) and connecting prisoners with community services.

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