Thirty years ago, in 1991, the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC) Final Report identified “underlying issues” as contributing to the over-representation of First Nations people in custody and commensurate deaths in custody. Today, the underlying issues are characterised as the impact of intergenerational trauma. The effects of intergenerational trauma, closely connected with the impacts of colonisation, domestic violence, poverty, substance abuse and mental health issues are accepted in medico-legal circles as causative of First Nations people’s over-representation in the criminal justice system. The RCIADIC recommended that judicial officers participate in appropriate training designed to explain contemporary Aboriginal society, customs and traditions with an emphasis on the historical and social factors which contribute to the disadvantaged position of many Aboriginal people today (Rec 96).
More recently, the 2019 Family is Culture report, an independent review of Aboriginal Children and Young People in out of home care, (Professor Megan Davis, Chair) recommended that the Judicial Commission provide educational resources for judicial officers about research on intergenerational trauma (Rec 114).
The Judicial Commission has created a list of resources available about the nature and impacts of intergenerational trauma.
- Defining intergenerational/transgenerational trauma (PDF: extract from Equality before the law Bench Book)
- Decolonising the mind: working with transgenerational trauma and First Nations People (PDF: article from Judicial Officers’ Bulletin)
- Understanding intergenerational trauma (PDF: article from Judicial Officers’ Bulletin)
- The trauma-informed courtroom (PDF: article from Judicial Officers’ Bulletin)
- Colonial frontier massacre map project (PDF: article from Judicial Officers’ Bulletin)
- Connecting the dots: intergenerational trauma in the Aboriginal Community (podcast)
- Intergenerational trauma animation (courtesy and copyright of the HealingFoundation)
- The Bugmy Bar Book (hosted on the website of the NSW Public Defenders)
- HealingFoundation (external website)
- Vanessa Edwige and Dr Paul Gray, The significance of culture to wellbeing, healing and rehabilitation (hosted on the website of the NSW Public Defenders)