FDR in prisons: meeting the needs of Aboriginal clients
Faculty of Business and Law
School of Law and Justice/Sellenger Centre for Research in Law, Justice and Social Change
The family law system in Australia encourages parents to attempt family dispute resolution (FDR) before approaching the court. FDR occurs in a national network of family relationship centres (FRCs) located in a variety of geographical locations. This article reports on the findings of research into the extension of aWestern Australia-based FRC service to a unique group of FDR clients: Aboriginal prisoners. Interviews with Aboriginal prisoners and with staff involved in the administration of FDR to prisoners revealed certain barriers to the uptake of FDR by this client group, such as language difficulties and a mistrust of mainstream services given past experiences with forced family separations. The article discusses possible strategies for overcoming these barriers and developing “culturally responsive” forms of FDR.