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Record ID: 33a6a164-1fc2-4ed5-90ab-b6042ebb8306
Type: Report
Title: Access of Indigenous Australians to law and justice servicesReport (Australia. Parliament. Joint Committee of Public Accounts)
Authors: Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit
Keywords: Indigenous issues;Child protection;Family law;Regional rural and remote areas;Advocacy
ANRA Population: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities
Year: 2005
Publisher: Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit
Notes:  This chapter is from the 2005 Report on Access of Indigenous Australians to Law and Justice Services:, produced from the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit. This chapter looks at Indigenous women and their access to legal services. The distribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services’ (ATSILS) resources between criminal, family and civil law matters has an impact on Indigenous women’s access since women and children are generally victims of violence and require legal services to protect them from offenders through family and civil law processes such as restraining orders, child custody orders and criminal compensation. ATSILSs showed a significant growth in the number of female clients between 1999-2000 and 2002-2003, which also reflects increased levels of contact of Indigenous women with the criminal justice system. Increasing incarceration rates for Indigenous women are responses to high incidences of family violence and child sexual assault due to the effects of child victims of sexual assault, physical assault and systems abuse being made state wards. Barriers to access ATSILS by Indigenous women include issues of conflict due to the majority of criminal law cases dealt with by ATSILS which restricts access of the other party seeking family and civil law services as the criminal defendant is already represented by the ATSILS or has made first contact with ATSILS. This works to the disadvantage of women. Lack of support for Indigenous women who are victims of crime is more pronounced in smaller communities. The need for a specific service for victims of family violence is raised. Concerns over FVPLS (Family Violence Prevention Legal Service) include that the emphasis on family violence prevention overrides the legal service aspect, and provision of a holistic service including counselling together with legal services had the potential to confuse the character of family violence as a criminal matter or as a social work matter. The Committee received evidence concerning the desirability for a legal service which would be specific to Indigenous women. The Committee made some recommendations including that the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department ensure FVPLS focus on the provision of family and civil law services to Indigenous Australians through the legal representation of clients and should not be confined to regional and remote areas
ISBN: 9780642786401
Physical description: xxviii, 114 p.
Appears in Collections:Reports

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