Koori children and families involved in the child protection system can now access specialised support in Shepparton with the launch of Marram-Ngala Ganbu – a dedicated program which allows them to participate more fully in court processes and supports families to stay together. The Honourable Jaclyn Symes, Attorney General launched the program at the Children’s Court at Shepparton on 16 April 2021.
The Marram-Ngala Ganbu program aims to create a Koori led court process which enables greater participation by family members and more culturally informed decisions. It demonstrates a commitment to Aboriginal self-determination and innovative approaches that accommodate the needs of Koori families.
Marram-Ngala Ganbu provides a culturally safe courtroom setting and using communication styles that make court a more welcoming place for Koori families. The parties sit around an oval table and directly talk with the magistrate to ensure children and their families feel more comfortable and less intimidated by the court process.
Since it first commenced at the Children’s Court at Broadmeadows in 2016, the program has supported more than 500 Koori families.
Funding for the expansion of Marram-Ngala Ganbu was provided under Burra Lotjpa Dunguludja, the fourth phase of the Aboriginal Justice Agreement.
The Children Court’s President, Judge Jack Vandersteen, said the expansion of Marram-Ngala Ganbu continues to lead the way in improving outcomes for indigenous Victorians.
“The establishment of Marram-Ngala Ganbu here at Shepparton is an important step towards our goal of being a State-wide Specialist Children’s Court that responds to the particular needs of local community and court users.”
“This would not have been possible without the support of the region’s Elders and Respected Persons. I thank them for their service to the court and their passion to help their community.”