Community justice groups : bridging the gap between Indigenous communities and the law


A clear message that came out of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody was that for policy to be developed successfully, input from the Indigenous community was indispensable. The Queensland Government’s Local Justice Initiatives Program represents one area where the Commission’s recommendations have been adopted. Under this program, Local Justice Groups, made up of people from the relevant Indigenous community, provide the courts and police with access to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives on the operation of the criminal justice system. The principle is that accommodating the views of the Indigenous community enables a better understanding of Indigenous criminal behaviour, and increased cultural understanding then enables more appropriate solutions to be devised for preventing crime and for dealing with offenders. This article outlines the successes of the Coen LJG where there has been a sharp drop in rates of police charges for offences against persons; a decrease in the severity of offences against persons resulting in police charges; a reduction in injuries due to domestic violence; and fewer people receiving prison sentences.

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This document has been sourced from the Indigenous Law Bulletin, previously known as the Aboriginal Law Bulletin, database published on Austlii ( AustLII advises that it is not the copyright owner of the source documents published on AustLII and is not able to give permission for reproduction of those source documents (refer copyright policy disclaimer dated October 2010). Queries about copyright should be referred to the publisher - the Indigenous Law Centre and the University of New South Wales.