Dandjoo Bidi-Ak is a court of the Children's Court of Western Australia. Dandjoo Bidi-Ak means "together on a path".
It aims to provide a culturally safe and respectful environment. To empower and support Aboriginal families who are in care and protection matters.
Full of colour and life, the Dandjoo Bidi-Ak court is not your typical court room. The team strives to create an inclusive and welcoming space. This is done by using Aboriginal art, books and other resources.
Dandjoo Bidi-Ak's Aboriginal team members are present during court hearings.
An Aboriginal liaison officer greets parents and carers. Each session begins with an Acknowledgement of Country.
Everyone sits on the same level in the room. So that it feels like sitting around a table together, including the magistrate. This ensures that the power imbalances are not felt within the court.
Effective communication is a key factor in the court.
Learning and improving are a big part of Dandjoo Bidi-Ak and has seen the court evolve to where it is today.
Families have a safe space to open up and be honest about their situations.
Magistrate Hughes is the presiding magistrate for the Dandjoo Bidi-Ak court. She makes it clear that families will never be shamed in this space. There is no judgement in the court.
Everyone in the court uses plain language. They are careful to ensure that everyone understands what is being discussed.
The Dandjoo Bidi-Ak team: Aboriginal Liaison Officer Department of Communities - Daniel Taylor, Aboriginal Liaison Officer - Sean Wood, Senior Aboriginal Liaison Officer - Melisa Cox, Magistrate Wendy Hughes.
Last updated: 28 February 2023