New monitoring technology a significant setback for bail reform and Aboriginal children  

Mar 20, 2024

VACCHO is deeply disappointed in the Victorian Government’s announcement that they will introduce a trial of electronic monitoring technology for children on bail.

Additionally, the Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes announced a backflip on the promised reverse onus bail reforms this morning trampling over the presumption of innocence.

The combination of these announcements means that innocent, unconvicted children will be locked up or monitored 24 hours a day.

It is widely evidenced that Aboriginal children are over-represented at all levels of the justice system in Victoria, including those on bail. This decision only contributes to the over-policing of Aboriginal children and moves us further away from responses grounded in wellbeing and healing.

It is well documented that the ongoing impacts of colonisation in Australia is one of the most significant factors contributing to the involvement of Aboriginal children and young people in the child protection and youth justice system.

For real change for Aboriginal children that also promotes community safety, it is time to shift the dial from tertiary end, crisis-driven responses. Instead, Government’s focus must be on upstream approaches that advance the human and cultural rights and social and emotional wellbeing of families, beginning from a foundation of strength and prevention.

Culturally strong and responsive social and emotional wellbeing supports for children and families are an essential part of supporting children’s development that can shift life trajectories, especially for families experiencing vulnerability.

Embedding culture and healing in service design and programs is critical to improving outcomes for families through birthing and parenting, from cradle to the Dreaming.

The dismantling and redesign of government systems is urgently needed – this continues to be recommended in Royal Commissions, independent Government authority reports and the Yoorrook Truth Telling Commission. VACCHO is alarmed that the Victorian Government appears to have not only dismissed the critical findings from the Yoorrook Justice Commission’s Report into Victoria’s Child Protection and Criminal Justice Systems but are now breaking a longstanding commitment to Aboriginal people.

Aboriginal ways of knowing, being and doing must be central to reforming broken systems. Otherwise, Victoria will continue to repeat the past and Government will continue to fail and harm Aboriginal children and families.

Quotes attributable to Sheree Lowe, Executive Director, of the Balit Durn Durn Centre at VACCHO.
“This decision will not be beneficial to our children, families, and Community. This is an outdated approach which does not align to a rights or best practice approach.”

“We need to change the narrative aligned to Aboriginal children in this country. Our Communities have the answer – investment in culture, healing and strengthening families are the solutions for our children.”

Quotes attributable to Dr Jill Gallagher AO, Chief Executive Officer, of the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation.
“We need to focus on keeping families together, keeping families safe and strong in Culture.”

“Aboriginal families also have the right to participate in – and have control over – decisions that affect our children and our lives.”

“Instead of backflipping on promises to Community, we need a Government that is committed to breaking the cycle of trauma and disadvantage.”

Media enquiries

For further media enquiries please email or contact our media unit on (03) 9411 9411.


VACCHO is the peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing in Victoria – the only one of its kind – with 33 Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations as Members. VACCHO Members support over 65,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria, and combined are the largest employers of Aboriginal people in the state.