Participation in an intervention program is mandatory at the Aboriginal Community Court at Elizabeth. Sentencing is delayed for six months while defendants engage in treatment.
Defendants meet with a Senior Case Manager to discuss their mental health and /or behavioural problems and a treatment plan is developed. People are encouraged to access services provided by indigenous organisations, such as Aboriginal Sobriety Group, Nunkuwarrin Yunti Health Service and Kirna Winmil Yunti (KWY) and are supported by the Senior Case Manager.
People can also choose to engage in general services if they prefer. The defendant’s progress is reviewed by the court once a month, and they receive support and encouragement to maintain changes, from the respected members of the Aboriginal community, the Magistrate, the Senior Case Manager and both the police prosecutor and their lawyer.
After approximately six months, the defendant is sentenced and the progress they made in making positive changes in their lives is considered by the Magistrate when determining the sentence. Cultural and community issues raised by the Respected Community Members are also considered by the Magistrate.
An Aboriginal Justice Officer also assists the court and provides information to the defendant and his/her family about bail and fines payment and coordinates the roster for the respected community members.