About the Community Legal Centres NSW Cultural Safety Workbook
The Community Legal Centres NSW Cultural Safety Workbook was designed to function as a catalyst for community legal centres to go out and meet Aboriginal communities, families and people, thereby growing culturally safe relationships, which is a foundation of Access-To-Justice. The Workbook provides guidance to community legal centres in their efforts to develop relationships in a culturally safe way.
While designed for community legal centres, the Workbook has been used broadly across the entire legal profession. The Workbook acknowledges the strong link between cultural safe legal practices and access to justice, because people’s experience of legal services fundamentally shapes the way they access and continue to utilise legal services. Just as legal services can help people achieve justice, being denied culturally safe legal services denies Aboriginal people their right to justice.
Community Legal Centres NSW (CLCNSW) recognises that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples face significant barriers in access to justice. The second CLCNSW Reconciliation Action Plan has been developed to build on our previous work, and to provide our organisation and our member community legal centres with a clear plan to develop and implement strategies that will enable us to address these barriers in our work. At least 15 community legal centres either have a Reconciliation Action Plan or are developing one.
What is a culturally safe environment?
An environment that is safe for people: where there is no assault, challenge or denial of their identity, of who they are and what they need. It is about shared respect, shared meaning, shared knowledge and experience, of learning, living and working together with dignity and truly listening.
The five Modules contained in this workbook aim to guide a CLC to establish or strengthen meaningful connections with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the CLC’s geographic catchment area.
The workbook introduces the following:
- Ideas for increasing trust between local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and the CLC.
- A set of prompts to explore the importance of each module and how it relates to engaging with your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
- Opportunities to identify outcomes that relate to increased trust between local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and your CLC.
Underpinning Principles for this workbook
- Recognise the importance of cultural safety in the CLC sector.
- Recognise the value of ongoing relationship-building as a basis for encouraging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to access and use services provided by community legal centres.
- Recognise the importance of a holistic approach to relationships and service delivery.
- Recognise that achieving respectful processes contributes towards gaining trust, and that gaining trust from local communities may take time.
- Recognise the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, and the role of family in connecting people.