- In late February, Law Society of NSW representatives, Federal Circuit Court judges and legal and community service providers gathered in Broken Hill for the Aboriginal Family Law Roadshow.
- The event was aimed at providing Aboriginal communities in the Far West region with information about how the family law jurisdiction might offer a better alternative to the care and protection system.
Aboriginal children in NSW are almost 10 times more likely than non-Aboriginal children to be in out of home care (AIHW, 2015). Since settlement, Aboriginal communities and individuals have had many things done to them, or for them, by government and other agencies. This is true of the fraught policies of assimilation and forcible child removal as well as efforts to remedy the effects of past wrongs. The relationship between Aboriginal people and the law too often reflects this history.
The fact that the law can be used in a protective way may not be a familiar one for many Aboriginal people, nor is the idea of engaging a solicitor to promote one’s interests. Many people are perhaps more used to the idea of being forced into courts, and of losing agency and control in this process. In the context of care and protection, the stakes are high when the consequences are the removal of children from their families and communities.