JUSTICE SUPPORT FOR LISMORE ABORIGINAL COMMUNITY
NSW Justice has appointed an officer in Lismore to support Aboriginal people as they navigate the justice system and address local crime problems.
Member for Lismore Thomas George today congratulated Fiona Byrne on her new role as the local Aboriginal Client and Community Support Officer for NSW Justice.
“Ms Byrne has a strong background in the justice system having worked for Corrective Services in Queensland helping Indigenous inmates with their rehabilitation,” Mr George said.
“She understands the issues facing her people and will work on developing solutions to break the cycle of crime.”
Ms Byrne will coordinate Lismore’s Aboriginal Community Justice Group. The group, made up of Indigenous Elders and volunteers, works with justice agencies on crime prevention programs to make the criminal justice system work more effectively for Aboriginal people.
With the support of the community justice group, Ms Byrne will help Aboriginal victims and offenders through the court process.
“Ms Byrne will provide comfort and guidance to Aboriginal victims of crime who may be feeling anxious, uncertain or vulnerable when they attend court,” Mr George said.
“She will also work with Aboriginal defendants to make sure they understand their bail conditions and when they’re required to attend court.
“Aboriginal people are already overrepresented in prisons and we don’t want to see a situation where an Indigenous person is remanded in custody because they misunderstood their bail conditions or got a court date wrong.”
Ms Byrne will also assist with Circle Sentencing for Aboriginal offenders and the Care Circle program that encourages culturally sensitive decision making and care plans for Aboriginal children and families.
Ms Byrne will be working closely with two new Indigenous trainees Noeline Monsell and Isaachar Fraser who will start a 12 month traineeship this week as part of an innovative program aimed at giving them the skills and confidence to find full time employment.
Lismore Courthouse has been supporting the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander indigenous trainee program for over 15 years.