Yoorrook for Justice: Report into Victoria's child protection and criminal justice systems
The following statement is from the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria and Chair of Courts Council, Anne Ferguson, on behalf of the Victorian courts and the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)
We acknowledge all First Peoples who shared their stories and experiences of the criminal justice and child protection system as part of the Yoorrook Justice Commission process. They have undertaken the difficult and important process of truth telling.
It is our obligation as judicial officers and court administrators to take this opportunity to listen and learn as we absorb those powerful accounts and the findings and recommendations of the Commission.
From this truth telling must come a far deeper understanding of First Peoples’ experience of the justice system. From this will come better outcomes in the future.
We will absorb the Commission’s interim report and look at what is within our power to change. But we also take this opportunity to acknowledge the ongoing and intergenerational trauma inflicted upon First Peoples because of colonisation and dispossession.
We acknowledge that harm has occurred for First Peoples in our courts. They have not been experienced as trusted institutions offering justice.
When I launched Court Services Victoria’s Self-determination Plan in July 2021, I said Koori people carried unique shared and lived experiences that can bring enormous value to our justice system and restore agency to people who come into contact with it. The Plan was developed in consultation with Elders and Respected Persons and community and commits to ongoing engagement.
That Self-determination Plan is called Yaanadhan Manamith Yirramboi: Striving for a Better Tomorrow – that is what we will continue to keep front and centre.