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Improving the family law system for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients : a report to the Attorney-General

Research and evaluations

TitleImproving the family law system for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients : a report to the Attorney-General
Author(s)Family Law Council
Date 2012
DescriptionThis report responds to the Attorney-General's request that the Family Law Council (Council) consider the extent to which the family law system meets the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and consider strategies for improvement in this area. Council's work in response to this reference highlights a range of complex issues embedded in the historical, cultural, socio-demographic and systemic context for the questions raised as part of the reference. Issues and concerns relating to the family law needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have been raised by several inquiries, some of which took place more than two decades ago. Attempts to address these issues and concerns, both at the level of policy and practice, have been incremental and in some instances unsustained. Recent developments in policy, most notably the National Indigenous Law and Justice Framework, provide a basis for a more comprehensive response in a wider whole of government policy setting which, since 2002, has been attempting to overcome entrenched Indigenous disadvantage. Council proposes a range of recommendations aimed at strengthening the family law system's response to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families. In Council's view, the prevalence of sole-parent headed families and the age profile of relevant communities create significant imperatives to improve access and responsiveness for the generations that will imminently require support, as well as those that already do so. The approach taken to these recommendations is in accord with recently developed policy frameworks. The recommendations in this report respond to a range of needs and issues identified by stakeholders and in the material before Council. Council emphasises that their implementation should be informed by the effective practice principles identified in earlier significant reports and with an awareness of the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Practice and policy responses should also be developed following an analysis of the specific needs of the communities who they are intended to benefit, conducted in partnership with those communities.
Publication detailsAustralian Department of the Attorney-General
Subject(s)Legal services
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