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Considering the Needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People Accessing the Family Law System

SA Family Law Pathways Network

Friday, 3 May 2019 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm (ACST)

Considering the Needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait I...

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Event Details

Come along to hear about how emerging and growing areas and ideas in the family law space may affect your organisation and practice.

 

Key note: The Needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People Accessing the Family Law System.

Presenter: Stephen Ralph MAPS MCFP, forensic psychologist in private practice

Stephen's presentation will explore the relevant issues and difficulties encountered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander litigants when accessing and using the Family Law System.  He will explain the importance of the Court considering a child’s Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander heritage and their right to know and enjoy their heritage. 

Stephen will also look at parental responsibility and parental capacity, and what factors a Court should consider when making decisions relating to an Indigenous child’s care, welfare and development in order that decisions are culturally sensitive and appropriate.

About the presenter:

Stephen is a forensic psychologist, working in private practice. He is highly experienced in family law and child protection matters, and is a member of The Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association.

He is a Regulation 7 Family Consultant (Federal Circuit Court); Accredited Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner and an accredited Cognitive Behaviour Therapist (CBT Australia).

Stephen has significant experience working within the Family Court of Australia as a Manager/ Family Consultant, including several years as National Coordinator (Indigenous Programs) within the Family Court; and 8 years’ experience working within state welfare departments in QLD and NSW.

In 2014 Stephen was commissioned by the Family Court to develop and deliver training sessions to staff to ensure that Child Dispute Assessments were conducted in a culturally sensitive way, given the unique needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people accessing the family law system.

 

Session 2: Real and practical measures the Federal Circuit Court has adopted in order to achieve the principles espoused by Reconciliation Australia.

Presenter: Trent Shepherd, PolicyAdviser, Federal Circuit Court of Australia 

The Reconciliation Action Plan is an action plan developed by the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, the purpose of which is to ensure improved access to justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The Plan was initiated by Former Chief Judge Pascoe in conjunction with Judge Myers, Reconciliation Australia, and the Federal Circuit Courts Indigenous Access to Justice Committee.

Trent's presentation will explore what real and practical measures the Federal Circuit Court has adopted in order to achieve the principles espoused by Reconciliation Australia and the Reconciliation Action Plan, in particular, providing access to justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Federal Circuit Court, including the need for and benefits of the Aboriginal Family Law list.

 About the Presenter:

Trent Shepherd is a highly experienced Adviser at the Federal Circuit Court of Australia.  Trent regularly attends at Court to provide guidance and assistance to both the judiciary and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people using the Court.

 In addition, Trent has been a volunteer at AIME since 2012 helping indigenous kids finish year 12 at the same rate as every other Australian child, and raising up a new generation of university students across the globe.  He is also a member of the Indigenous Issues Committee with the Law Society of New South Wales. 

Trent has degrees in Arts and Law from the University of Wollongong. He has been admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, Federal Court and High Court of Australia.

 

 

Session 3: Meeting the Needs of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Peoples in a safe, and culturally appropriate way.

Presenter: Craig Rigney – CEO at Kornar Winmil Yunti Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Services (KWY).

KWY is an Aboriginal organisation based in Adelaide delivering services across South Australia to Aboriginal families to address family violence. 

In this presentation Craig will talk about various programs that are available to families including the Accountability, Responsibility to Change (ARC) program, Aboriginal Dads program, Stronger, Safer Families Hub model, and the Parents Next program (Centrelink Parenting response).

Craig will present details of the holistic, trauma informed manner in which all KWY’s programs operate and the ability to support families into other relevant KWY programs enabling KWY to offer families a safe, culturally appropriate response to meet their needs.

About the Presenter:

Craig Rigney is a Ngarrindjeri man born in Gawler, country SA. Craig has worked for the Adelaide City Council as an electrician as well as the Aboriginal Employment Officer, where the increase of Aboriginal staff was successful and a 100% retention rate maintained during his time there. After the success of the program, the Adelaide City Council was approached by the Department of Further Education, Employment and Science and Technology (DFEEST) to mentor and support the increase in Aboriginal students undertaking school-based apprenticeships throughout all regions.

Craig then moved to SA Health, Aboriginal Health Branch, as the Senior Project Officer. The role was to scope the health sector and identify gaps in health services for Aboriginal males. The position outcome hopes to influence strategic drivers and policies for better health outcomes for Aboriginal males across the state.

It was whilst working in partnership with Murray Mallee Health in 2011 while attending the Tumby Bay Health gathering, that the idea of Kornar Winmil Yunti started to grow into a reality. The obvious need for an Aboriginal male health service and the provision for a culturally safe environment for Aboriginal men were realised. Craig is now the Chief Executive Officer and Director of Kornar Winmil Yunti and enjoys every day that he is working with Aboriginal men.

 

 

Session 4: Overcoming the Barriers: How can the Family Courts Improve decision making for Aboriginal Families under Part VII of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) 

Presenter: Courtney Dolphin - Law and Psychological Science (Honours) Student

Over the years, the Family Court has been working towards developing a more culturally appropriate system for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients. The recent implementation of the Specialised Indigenous List in selected Federal Circuit Court registries is designed to improve the appearance of the family law system by promoting an informal and collective approach to decision making. The Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) also provides several considerations under Part VII that are central to considering a child’s Aboriginal heritage.

Courtney will explore the judicial and academic treatment of these factors and the weight given to Aboriginal culture in cases. Courtney will then discuss the instances where Aboriginal culture should receive greater weight and how the Family Court is seeking to improve judicial understanding of Aboriginal culture.

About the Presenter:

Courtney is an Honours student, studying a Law and Psychological Science degree at the University of South Australia. She received a High Distinction for her thesis entitled "Overcoming the Barriers: How can the Family Court Improve decision making for Aboriginal Families under Part VII of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)".

Courtney has a keen interest in family law and has undertaken work experience and research tasks in this area. Courtney has recently undertaken further research into de facto relationships with Dr Michelle Fernando at the University of South Australia and is in the process of co-authoring another article that examines the treatment of multiple relationships in the Family Court.

 

 

Session 5: Stories and Insights into the Experience of Family Dispute Resolution and Aboriginal Families in regional and remote South Australia, and comparing this to experiences in the metropolitan areas.

Presenters: Alec Wanganeen - Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner, Family Relationship Centre (Uniting Communities) & Tanya Turner - Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner, Family Relationship Centre (Centacare Catholic Country SA)

This presentation will explore the many diversities, complexities and joys of mediating with Aboriginal families. The presentation will also look at the challenges of Family Dispute Resolution for Aboriginal families.

It is argued that to be a successful Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner working with Aboriginal families, one must go above and beyond the traditional models of mediation, debunk the belief that one process can fit all, and learn how case management is key to engaging, supporting and achieving the best outcomes for Aboriginal families.

About the Presenters:

Both Alec and Tanya are highly experienced Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners, with extensive experience in this field.

 

 

Session 6: “Because of them we must.”

Presenter: Melissa Clarke – Director of Aboriginal Services at Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement & Chairperson South Australian Aboriginal Community Leadership Reference Group (ACLRG) for Child Protection Reform.

Melissa’s presentation is about Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Children, and will explore the understanding of jurisdictional strategies and initiatives to build the self determination of Aboriginal families and communities, and to reduce the overrepresentation of Aboriginal children in Out of Home Care.

About the Presenter:

Melissa is a proud Ngarrindjeri woman and mother to three beautiful children. Melissa is a strong advocate for social justice and especially for opportunities for the self-determination of Aboriginal communities. Fundamental to her current role as Director of Aboriginal Services at Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement, is ensuring the rights of Aboriginal people and communities are met in the Child Protection and Youth Justice systems across all of South Australia. Melissa regularly travels to Aboriginal communities across South Australia to engage, educate and identify the needs and hear the views of Aboriginal communities to inform advocacy and negotiations in the design, implementation and monitoring of initiatives, programs and services for Aboriginal people.

Melissa’s previous roles include the Aboriginal Children’s Advocate at the SA Children’s Guardian and prior to that, 14 years with the South Australia Police, specialising in areas such as Family Violence, Prosecution, Youth Justice, Community Policing and Crime Prevention.  

Melissa is the Chairperson of the South Australian Aboriginal Community Leadership Reference Group (ACLRG) for Child Protection Reform. The ACLRG, which was formed in 2016, is the only independent Community group advocating and providing expert Child Protection and cultural advice to South Australian Government. Melissa is a member of the SNAICC Family Matters Campaign Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership Group, and was recently elected to the Joint Council for Closing The Gap.

Melissa’s passion and commitment in working with Aboriginal communities to advance and protect the rights of Aboriginal children, families and communities is at the very heart of all her work.


Have questions about Considering the Needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People Accessing the Family Law System? Contact SA Family Law Pathways Network

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When & Where


Adelaide Pavilion
Veale Gardens
cnr South Terrace & Peacock Road
Adelaide, SA 5000
Australia

Friday, 3 May 2019 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm (ACST)


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