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Interview friends program
The Interview friends program, run by the Aboriginal Justice Centre in the Australian Capital Territory, provides Indigenous people with appropriate representation (an 'interview friend') when they have been taken into custody for an offence. This program is intended for both Indigenous children and adults.
For children (under 18 years of age), an interview friend can be:
- a parent or guardian or a legal practitioner acting for the child
- a relative or friend who is acceptable to the child if a parent/guardian/legal practitioner acting for the child are unavailable
- a person from the 'Aboriginal friends call out roster'.
A police officer is not considered to be an independent person when interviewing children.
For adults, an interview friend can be:
- a relative or other person chosen by the person in custody
- a legal representative acting for the person
- a representative of an Indigenous legal aid organisation
- a person on the 'Aboriginal friends call out roster'.
A volunteer from the 'Aboriginal friends call out roster' should be used:
- as a last resort for the Indigenous adults in custody
- as a third contact point for Indigenous children in custody.
The services provided by interview friend from the 'Aboriginal interview friend call out roster' include:
- providing independent, confidential support to an Indigenous person in custody when a relative, friend or lawyer is unavailable
- making sure that the interview is conducted properly and that the person in custody is not intimidated or harassed
- offering company and assistance with cultural issues
- ensuring the rights of young people are upheld.
Interview friends from the 'Aboriginal interview friend call out roster' do not:
- provide legal advice (unless they are legally qualified to do so)
- discuss with the broader community any confidential or private information about any person the interview friend has assisted in custody
- have to drive offenders home if released after an interview (this is the decision of the interview friend and not a requirement of the program).
Aboriginal Justice Centre abstract
Aboriginal Justice Centre
Level 3 Griffin Centre
Canberra ACT 2600
Ph: (02) 6162 1000
Fax: (02) 6162 1100