Koori Justice Unit: Designing a family-centred approach for Aboriginal people in the justice system


The Koori Justice Unit (KJU) within the Victorian Department of Justice and Community Safety (DJCS) is responsible for coordinating the development and delivery of Aboriginal justice policies and programs across the Victorian Government and justice agencies. The KJU aims to build capacity in the Aboriginal community and the Department to develop and deliver effective and efficient justice services and initiatives.

The project (icon)
The project

To develop a service model that delivers a family-centred approach for Aboriginal families with complex needs involved with the justice system in Victoria, as part of a program of work being delivered under the Aboriginal Justice Agreement.

The objective (icon)
The objective

The project aimed, through a process of co-design and consultation with key stakeholders including Aboriginal community members and people with lived experience, to develop a model that specifically supports the families of Aboriginal people involved in, or at risk of involvement in the justice system. The proposed model will be used by the KJU as the basis for an expression of interest process seeking providers to deliver the service across key regions in Victoria.

The role we played

In conjunction with Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency, SVA Consulting:

  • Secured ethics approval (including multiple amendments required due to Covid-19) to engage with Aboriginal people in prison or on community-based orders
  • Conducted research to identify best practice and inform a literature review
  • Established and engaged with an Aboriginal-led Reference Group
  • Conducted consultations with key stakeholders with lived experience in the Aboriginal community and in prison to understand their needs and preferred supports to inform model development
  • Conducted consultations with key stakeholders in government, non-government organisations, Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) and non-Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations to understand the gaps in the system to support Aboriginal families
  • Developed, tested and refined the model with key stakeholders
  • Prepared a detailed report documenting learnings from the research and consultations, service mapping for the priority regions for the model and outlining key elements of the proposed service delivery model including foundational principles, target beneficiaries, services offered, caseloads, workforce requirements and guidance for implementation

Our impact (icon)
Project impact

As a result of this work, Aboriginal families in key regions across Victoria who have family members involved or at risk of involvement in the justice system will have access to much needed supports in a culturally appropriate and trauma-informed setting.