Koori Victims of Crime
The Koori VOCAT List has been operating within the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal since 2006. It developed as an initiative of several Tribunal members and registrars who, through their involvement with the Koori community, were aware that the Tribunal was not receiving the number of applications for assistance by Koori victims of crime they would have expected.
The Koori VOCAT List was the Tribunal’s attempt to understand why this was happening, to become involved with the Koori community, and to try and develop procedures that would increase the number of Koori victims of crime accessing their entitlements under the Victims of Crime Assistance Act 1996.
The Tribunal realised that, while it maintained a large volume of statistics about the applications it received, it did not have any information about applications by Koori victims of crime. It did not know where these applications were coming from, how many it was receiving (if any), whether applicants had legal representation, or whether victimisation between Koori and non-Koori people differed. Importantly, the Tribunal did not know the nature of Koori victims’ experiences and/or their concerns as victims of crime.
To address this, the Tribunal organised a series of community forums to invite discussion about the Tribunal’s response to Koori victims of crime, to understand the experiences and concerns of Koori victims of crime and to build a relationship between the Tribunal and the Koori community. The forums took place in 2004 and 2006 and led to the inclusion of an Indigenous identifier question on the Tribunal’s Application for Assistance form, enabling it to gather statistics about applications by Koori victims of crime, and to the introduction of the Koori VOCAT List.
The Koori VOCAT List commenced operation as a 2-year pilot project from 1 July 2006, and was subsequently extended as a pilot until 30 June 2009.
On 20 December 2022, the Chief Magistrate issued Practice Direction 4 of 2022 – Koori VOCAT List, which confirmed that the Koori VOCAT List will continue as an ongoing part of the Tribunal’s operations.
Further information regarding the development and current operation of the Koori VOCAT List is outlined in the Koori List Information Sheet, Report Koori VOCAT List Pilot – Review and Recommendations Report and under the Administration of the Koori List.
- VOCAT Koori List Engagement Registrar
Phone: (03) 9628 7859
Additional resources and contacts:
- Umalek Balit
Koori Family Violence and Victim's Support Program
Phone: (03) 7004 9779
- Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency - VACCA
Phone: (03) 9287 8800
Dhumbumana Healing Strategy 2021– 23
The Dhumbumana Healing Strategy is focused on continuous improvement within the VOCAT Koori List and enhancing VOCAT’s capacity to engage with Koori communities and assist in their journey to healing.
Dhumbumana (pron: thum‐boo‐mah‐nah) is a traditional word from the language of the Wurundjeri people, meaning help.
VOCAT will use the Dhumbumana Healing Strategy to better support Koori applicants and deliver a targeted outreach program to improve our engagement with local Koori communities.
The strategy will enable VOCAT to:
- increase awareness of VOCAT as a culturally specific financial assistance scheme for Koori victims of crime
- recognise and reduce barriers to accessing VOCAT
- better understand how Koori people use our services
- improve our current practices to better promote cultural safety
- better support Koori victims of crime during VOCAT hearings.
The cultural support provided by the Dhumbumana Healing Strategy will put greater emphasis on Koori applicants’ physical, psychological and emotional safety throughout the VOCAT process. The strategy will also enable referrals to legal and family violence support services in the community, as well as other support agencies where appropriate.
The strategy creates opportunities for Koori applicants who have been affected by trauma to regain a sense of empowerment and control over their lives. It promotes reconnecting with culture to assist in establishing pathways back to country to heal spiritually.
Further information about the Dhumbumana Healing Strategy can be found at Dhumbumana Healing Strategy | Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (vocat.vic.gov.au)
Alternatively, please contact:
VOCAT Koori List Engagement Registrar
Phone: (03) 9628 7859