The Yoorrook Justice Commission will question Victorian government ministers, senior bureaucrats and the Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police during public hearings starting next week.
The hearings are scheduled to run from April 27 to May 12. The testimony of government witnesses forms a crucial part of Yoorrook’s inquiry into the systemic injustices experienced by First Peoples within Victoria’s criminal justice and child protection systems.
Witnesses scheduled to give evidence include Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes, Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police Shane Patton and Minister for Child Protection Lizzie Blandthorn.
The Commission has held public hearings in December 2022 and March 2023. Community members, experts and leaders gave evidence on the harm caused to First Peoples as a result of systemic injustice in the child protection and criminal justice systems.
The Commission has also gathered evidence through prison visits, round table discussions, yarning circles, regional visits, as well as research and individual and organisational submissions. Yoorrook will complete its critical issues report by the end of August 2023 detailing its findings and recommendations.
Yoorrook is Victoria’s formal truth telling inquiry and the first of its kind in Australia.
Chair of the Yoorrook Justice Commission Professor Eleanor Bourke said:
“The Yoorrook Justice Commission has heard incredibly powerful evidence from First Peoples, many of whom have shared painful or traumatic stories at great personal expense.
“Now it is time to hear from the Victorian government, police and corrections administrators. The Commission expects these witnesses to show the same honesty and courage as the First Peoples we have heard from to date.
“These hearings are an opportunity for government to begin to address and remedy the wrongs of the past. Leaders in government must take responsibility for the systems, laws and policies that have caused – and continue to cause – harm to First Peoples.”
Media enquiries: Evan Schuurman, Senior Media Advisor, 0408 847 385, [email protected].
Notes to editor:
- Yoorrook’s media guidelines for the hearings can be viewed here.
- Media outlets wanting to film inside the hearing room should contact Senior Media Advisor Evan Schuurman.
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