Are you an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Person?
It is important that we ask all people who come to court whether they are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, and whether or not their court matter(s) involve someone (including children) who is Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.
We know that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people face barriers accessing courts, so by asking the question, we can plan and deliver culturally safe services.
We have a responsibility to understand who uses our court, so we can offer the right services to help them with their court matters.
Asking the question helps us to offer culturally-appropriate court services for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people and their families.
All accused persons will be asked the question (when applying for bail or making any applications in relation to bail, and in any intervention order matter). The answer to the question is then recorded on file as either:
All court users receive the same standard of service, whether they are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people or not.
By answering ‘yes’ to the question, we are able to offer you culturally-specific court services. For example, the County Koori Court is a sentencing court for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders in the higher jurisdiction.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders can elect to have their matter heard in the County Koori Court. Aboriginal Elders or Respected Persons advise the Judge on cultural issues relating to the accused and his or her offending behaviour. They may also explain relevant kinship connections, how particular crimes have affected the Indigenous community and provide advice on cultural practices, protocols and perspectives relevant to sentencing.
Their voices are a powerful cultural feature and send a clear message to the accused the offences are not condoned by Koori or non-Koori communities.
The County Koori Court cannot hear sexual offences. Offences that involve family violence or a breach of an Intervention Order or Interim Intervention Order can only be heard at the County Koori Court sitting at Mildura.