The Framework is pitched as tackling (perhaps more accurate as a comitment to tackle) "serious Indigenous law and justice issues" and as representing "the first nationally agreed approach to Indigenous law and justice". The aim is to
reduce the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the criminal justice system by focusing on community safety and reducing rates of alcohol and substance related crime.It was developed by the Indigenous Justice Working Group of of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG). The Framework is meant to form the basis of a "long term strategic approach to Indigenous law and justice issues and support work being done to 'close the gap' on Indigenous disadvantage".
Endorsement of the Framework was the centrepiece of the Indigenous Justice Roundtable at which as the Attorneys-General, Indigenous Affairs Ministers, Police Ministers and Police Commissioners
agreed to work together to improve policing, respond to alcohol abuse, strengthen the co-ordination of service delivery, and better support Indigenous victims of crime.The Ministers agreed that
the right to live free from violence is a fundamental human right. Community safety is also a vital pre-condition to achieve COAG's targets in health, education and housing. It was agreed that if there is not action to address serious problems in this area, it will not be possible to make improvements in other areas.That agreement was reflected in the policy version of Casablanca ("arrest the usual suspects"), with statements that included
* Building relationships of trust and respect between Indigenous communities and the police could encourage the early reporting of family violence, reduce intimidation and fear, and increase confidence in the justice system.What will be the outcome? In the first instance, - strategies, lots of strategies (and presumably each with its own mini-launch). The Ministers agreed to
* Sharing information between police and other key welfare agencies was critical to providing timely and effective support for victims of crime, particularly children. Prompt, effective sharing of information helps welfare agencies intervene early before a situation escalates. It also reduces unnecessary intrusion by multiple agencies into family life.
* It is critical that victims of family violence and sexual assault have access to sustained and responsive services. The National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Children emphasises the importance of a service delivery model based on the philosophy that the "first door must be the right door". This means that a victim's first point of contact with formal services, whether it is police, medical, legal, accommodation, counselling or child protection, must be able to support women and children in a compassionate and professional manner through the recovery process.
develop an effective approach for determining law enforcement and support services required in remote and very remote communities, and to recruiting and retaining sworn officers, especially Indigenous officersA jaundiced observer might argue that the development is hardly radical and shouldn't, in fact, be new. There's a similar sense of 'same old, same old' with announcement that the Ministers will "develop strategies to reduce alcohol induced violence, abuse and crimes in affected Indigenous communities" (surely we haven't just realised that there's a problem, albeit one that's intractable) and will "provide leadership at all levels on the need for information sharing and integrated service delivery, particularly in relation to family violence and child abuse or neglect cases". We might hope that leadership extends beyond photo opportunities.