Across countless generations, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have had a vision for the health and well-being of all elements of Australia and its people. This includes directions for preventing inequity, crime, environmental degradation and illness. But the paths to take – and the knowledges that exist – have long been flooded by a negative discourse about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that blames, shames and discriminates, locating over-representation in prisons and poor health and well-being as a cultural deficit, apportioned to individuals rather than the complex systems and politics of knowledge construction that surround it. Rural criminology has an opportunity to change tracks to redress the lack of cultural competence training and cultural safety planning among its workforce – the 97 percent who have the power to create change for the small and young population of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This chapter identifies steps in the path to change and opportunities for rural criminology including identifying shared determinants of justice and health, decolonising evidence for decision-making and improving accountability including through partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community leaders. This chapter asserts a freedom and confidence that emanates from decolonising methodologies, reflexivity in research and meeting aspirations of local community Elders and leaders with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural values and strengths. ‘Next steps’ in constructing a more culturally responsive rural criminology are presented, with a summary of roles and spheres of influence to consider.
Williams, M. (2021), "Dhany ‘Towards Here’", Harkness, A. and White, R. (Ed.) Crossroads of Rural Crime, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 13-30. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80043-644-220211002
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