Author: Bradley Dawson

Summary of Yoorrook Justice Commission Report into Victoria’s Child Protection and Criminal Justice Systems

The second report of the Yoorrook Justice Commission focuses on the past and ongoing systemic injustice experienced by First Nations communities within Victoria’s child protection and criminal justice systems.

Structure of the report

The report is divided into seven parts:

Part A includes the Letter of Transmission, Chairperson’s foreword, and a brief introduction to the report’s methodology and terminology.

Part B includes an Executive Summary, list of recommendations and key facts.

Part C examines the historical foundations of the child protection and criminal justice systems. It explains how current injustices, including systemic racism and human and cultural rights violations created by these systems, are not just historical, but continue to persist today with critical impacts on First Peoples families and communities.

It then goes on to discuss matters for Treaty in relation to child protection and criminal justice. In particular, Yoorrook finds that the transformation necessary to end the harms that the child protection and criminal justice systems continue to inflict on First Peoples can only be addressed through self-determination involving the transfer of power, authority and resources to First Peoples via the treaty process.

Part C concludes by examining consistent themes in evidence to Yoorrook that span both the child protection and criminal justice systems, including accountability and transparency, cultural competence and responsivity, and compliance with cultural and human rights obligations. Whole of government recommendations to address these issues are made.

Part D examines critical issues in the child protection system. It begins with a short overview of some of the key policies, laws and human and cultural rights that are engaged by this system. It then examines the pathway into, through and beyond child protection with chapters on early help, child removal, out-of-home care, permanency and reunification. Findings on critical issues and recommendations for urgent action are made in each chapter.

Part E adopts a similar approach to the criminal justice system. Following a brief overview, each of the major parts of that system are considered: Victoria Police; the bail system; youth justice; courts, sentencing and classification of offences; and Victorian Prisons. Key systemic injustices are identified, findings made, and recommendations for urgent action put forward.

Part F considers other issues that have arisen during this stage of Yoorrook’s work, including legislative barriers to Yoorrook properly fulfilling its truth-telling mandate. Yoorrook outlines legal problems which mean that Yoorrook cannot guarantee that confidential information shared by First Peoples and others will be kept confidential once Yoorrook finishes its work. It also discusses barriers to members of the Stolen Generation and others who have been or are currently subject to child protection orders telling their truth. Recommendations to resolve these issues are made.

Part G contains appendices to the report, including a list of witnesses and a glossary. Further information relating to the child protection and criminal justice systems is also provided.

Click here to view/download the full summary of the Yoorrook report here.

Raising the age of criminal responsibility to 12 – A statement from GPV/KCV

Thursday, 27 April 2023

GPV/KCV welcomes the decision made by the Victorian Cabinet on Monday to lift the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 12. As GPV/KCV has campaigned for this issue for some time, we are disappointed with the mystifying decision to wait another few years before lifting the age limit to 14.

However, equally mystifying and disappointing are the views being expressed suggesting that lifting the age of criminal responsibility will mean children are not held accountable. These views come from a narrow band of thinking about the most effective ways to hold children responsible for their actions. As a society we need to do so without creating a lifelong tag for children as criminals that may prevent them from becoming the citizens in adulthood we all would want.

It can only be hoped that in the interim the courts continue to do what they can to make use of the doli incapax provisions in law which describe the inability of children under the minimum age of criminal responsibility to form criminal intent. If a child is aged over 10 years but under 14, there is a common law presumption of doli incapax.

Anne McLeish OAM, Director GPV/KCV

Resources to support LGBTQIA+ students

Health and Emotional Wellbeing


QLife provides anonymous LGBTQIA+ peer support and referrals to people on a range of topics including sexuality, identity, gender, bodies, feelings and relationships. It is a free service delivered by LGBTI community members across Australia. Call QLife on 1800 184 527 or visit the website for webchat here. Open 3pm to midnight every day.


queerspace provides a non-judgemental, queer affirmative counselling service. queerspace staff come from one or more of the LGBTIQ+ communities so understand first-hand the importance of chosen family, supportive communities and building resilience.

  • Contact queerspace on 03 9663 6733 or visit the website here.

Rainbow Door

Rainbow door is a free helpline offering information, support and referrals to LGBTQIA+ Victorians and their friends and family. Rainbow Door will work to support people experiencing suicidal thoughts, family and intimate partner violence and mental health.  Rainbow Door also offers multi language interpreting and Auslan services. Call 1800 729 367, text 0480 017 246 email [email protected]u

Thorne Harbour Health

Thorne Harbour Health works to achieve a healthy future for sex, sexuality and gender diverse communities. As a community-controlled organisation it is governed by members and works for people living with HIV as well as our sex, sexuality and gender diverse communities.Visit the website for information on how to access a range of general and mental health services.

Education and Resources

Ygender is a peer led social support and advocacy group for trans/gender diverse young people. YGender run events for trans and gender diverse young people, create amazing resources and workshops and much more. Visit their website here.

Inclusive Practice Guide for Homelessness and Housing Sectors in Australia

This guide outlines inclusive practice for agencies in Australian homelessness and housing sectors working with clients who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer or questioning (LGBTIQ+) in response to evidence that LGBTIQ+ people are at higher risk of homelessness and have specific needs to address. 

Student Voice Hub (SVH) – LGBTQI+ Resources
Vic SRC together with Minus18 have pulled together a wealth of resources to support the wellbeing and inclusion of LGBTQI+ students in Victorian schools.  Access these resources here

The Victorian Pride Centre 
The Victorian Pride Centre is home to a range of LGBTIQ+ focused organisations, along with businesses who support the LGBTIQ+ community. Visit their website to access a range of information and services from social connection, to mental health and wellbeing, to education and resources. 

Resources for schools and universities via Minus18
Minus18’s website has a wealth of resources available to support and champion young LGBTQIA+ Australians. You can filter the resource page based on your context, including schools and unis, workplaces and more.

  •  Visit the website here.

Zoe Belle Gender Collective (ZBGC)

ZBGC is a trans and gender diverse led advocacy organisation based in Victoria that works to improve the health and wellbeing of trans and gender diverse (TGD). ZBGC have a range of fantastic resources, including for trans and gender diverse Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

ZBGC recently ran training for staff at the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Wellbeing, and a number of the resources they provided attendees form part of this newsletter.  Visit the website here.

Families like mine
Families like mine is a guide offering practical advice to families of young gender diverse people, same-sex attracted and bisexual people, and those who are questioning their sexuality or gender identity to improve family’s capacity to have a positive impact on their LGBTQIA+ children.  Access it here.

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