Bendigo Magistrates’ Court Implements First Nations Cultural Safety Protocols

August 18, 2023 12:14 pm in by
Photo: Oliver Strewe from Getty Images.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised this story includes the name of a deceased First Nations person.

Magistrates’ courts across Victoria are working to make the system more culturally safe for Indigenous accused people – following the death of 37-year-old Aboriginal woman Veronica Nelson while in custody in early 2020.

Nelson died in custody at the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre three days after she was taken into custody and refused bail on what the Coroners Court of Victoria found were “relatively minor and non-violent offences”.

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One of the key changes is that each person appearing before the court will be asked if they identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, or both – information they can disclose at their own discretion.

The court-integrated services program (CISP) will also offer support for vulnerable court users and is being expanded to the Bendigo Magistrates’ Courts.