Meet the justice group determined to make change in the Bay
THE relaunched not-for-profit Marigurim Yalaam Inidgenious Corporation Community Justice Group is true to its name in Butchulla language.
It has a "strong voice", and big plans.
The group focuses on supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defendants and victims in Hervey Bay courts as well as providing early intervention programs to reduce the over-representation of indigenous people in the criminal justice system.
People who are referred to the group from the court, police or the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Legal Service can engage with their cultural elders who will refer them to support services and, if asked, can provide a cultural report.
The group is mostly made up of those who have earnt the title of "Uncle" and "Aunty" but their age does not affect their conviction to help their community.
When co-ordinator and founder Eileen Clarke finished her degree in Community Justice in 2018, she wrote to the Attorney-General's office.
The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody recommended the creation of Community Justice Groups.
Hervey Bay's Marigurim Yalaam is one of 49 in Queensland after becoming registered and incorporated as a result of Ms Clarke's cultural report submission to the Attorney-General.
Now, 14 months on, the group is applying for funding to expand.
CJGs are recognised under the Youth Justice Act.
Ms Clarke said a cultural report could be used as a tool by a magistrate or judge in sentencing.
She said it could helpful to inform the court of what steps had been towards rehabilitation such as participating in support programs or writing apology letters.
Adam Chapman from the office of the Attorney-General said a group's success was when a the CJG was "heard".
"CJG's have cultural knowledge of an offender or a victim," Mr Chapman said.
"Success is when the courts have been influenced by those cultural reports in making a decision which is better for the community and also better for the defendant in accessing programs through the CJGs or other programs they were referred to in order to address offending behaviour or reduce risk of harm to the community and to other victims."
For more information about the MYICCJG or to get involved contact Aunty Liz Hornibrook by emailing or calling Eileen Clarke on 0478 762 896.