Tackling the legal issues facing Victoria’s Aboriginal community

Law is part of our everyday life, so we all inevitably encounter legal issues. But for some there are additional hurdles and barriers socially, historically, and economically that can make those issues larger, and more commonplace. The Aboriginal population of Victoria is often disadvantaged in these areas. That’s why a number of organisations have made it their mission to see this improve. This Law Week we spoke to them to learn more about the emerging legal issues facing Victoria’s Aboriginal community.

The situation right now – a view from the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service

Anxieties about tenancy, employment and justice processes can be particularly acute for Victoria’s Aboriginal peoples, and the COVID-19 pandemic has stretched normal community support systems thin.

As a part of the inaugural The Law and You series, Nerita Waight, CEO of Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service (VALS), chats with Lynne Haultain about the serious impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the Aboriginal community.

Shining a light on the everyday legal problems you may encounter

While the issues of unfair fines, scams and discrimination are serious, VALS have released a series of videos taking a light-hearted look at the common legal problems that Aboriginal people face.

Do these situations look familiar? If you are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and recognise any of the scenarios, call VALS for a yarn 1800 064 865 or email vals@vals.org.au

Unfair fines

Have you received a fine unfairly? It happens easily enough but the impact is significant. Fines and penalties when levied unfairly may have significant economic impacts. It is often difficult to recognise or identify whether you have been fined unfairly. This short video is a brief look at unfair fines.

Scams

There are a lot of scammers who try to get consumers to buy goods on unfair terms. Have you seen or heard of someone purchasing a product at high interest and with lots of unfair terms and conditions involved. This short video highlights how some scammers target individuals that are not familiar with these agreements.

Discrimination

Discrimination is a real problem in Australia with many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders facing discrimination in the workforce. It is often difficult to recognise discrimination because it might be quite subtle. Sometimes, however, it is quite overt. So how do you identify discrimination, and what should you do if you are subjected to discrimination? This short video is a brief look at modern discrimination.

Art as a way out of the justice system

The Torch is a service that seeks to end the overrepresentation of Aboriginal peoples in the prison system and the frequent occurrence of reoffence. They help incarcerated and recently released Aboriginal peoples to hone their artistic practice and provide a platform to sell their artworks.

The culmination of these efforts is their annual exhibition. This year is Confined 11, a virtual art gallery with purchasable art. 100% of the money from the sale of these artworks go directly to the artist themselves.

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