The development of an Aboriginal community controlled legal service in South Australia was part of a national movement to improve legal and civil rights for Aboriginal people who were over-represented in the criminal justice system.
Prior to the establishment of Aboriginal legal services, most Aboriginal people appearing before the Courts were not represented by a solicitor, and many pleaded guilty to offences unaware of their rights and obligations under the law.
The South Australian Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement began with the assistance of the Aboriginal Community Centre Inc. and the Council of Aboriginal Women of SA Inc. The Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement was incorporated in 1973 and received its first government funding ($22,000) from the Commonwealth Department of Aboriginal Affairs.
Since its incorporation in 1973, ALRM has grown from a small service employing a solicitor, a field officer and a secretary, to an organisation of over 60 staff, with offices in Adelaide and regional centres. ALRM provides services across the whole State of South Australia including the remote APY Lands.
In 2017, ALRM became a Company Limited by Guarantee. Incorporation as a Company Limited by Guarantee means that there will be new opportunities for ALRM, the potential to diversify our operations, i.e. to explore other business opportunities with a view to become more independently sustainable.
Our organisation is proud to represent the interests of approximately 21 major Aboriginal language groups within South Australia, and we now have offices in Adelaide, Port Augusta, Ceduna and Murray Bridge.
ALRM provides comprehensive legal services, financial counselling and assistance through its staff, to people of Aboriginal descent and their spouses.
ALRM also acts as a lobby group, and where able, implements support programs that assist in addressing some of the issues known to contribute to Aboriginal people coming into contact with the criminal justice system.
Our motto, Justice Without Prejudice, encapsulates what our organisation strives to achieve. Through the provision of legal services and associated activities, ALRM promotes legal, cultural, economic, political and social rights for Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders as dispossessed peoples within South Australia.
To pursue social justice, equality, and wellbeing for the Aboriginal peoples of South Australia, especially for those Aboriginal people who are detained in police custody or imprisoned.
The traditional values of Care, Share and Respect underpin our commitment. We Care for the human and legal rights, safety and psychological well-being of our clients, their families and communities. We share a common understanding of our client needs and challenges and diligently strive to achieve high quality law and justice outcomes.
We respect the cultural diversity, values and beliefs of our clients, their families and communities and deliver confidential, innovative, professional and culturally competent legal assistance services.
To advance the legal interests of the Aboriginal peoples of South Australia.
To ensure those interests and rights are protected by the law/lore and not adversely affected by abuse and misuse of any powers under the law.
To deliver high quality, culturally appropriate and accessible legal and reform services.
To deliver effective community legal education.
Ensure that strong leadership and governance guides our management practices and procedures.
To recruit, train and retain skilled and culturally experienced staff.
To build and sustain new and existing partnerships to maximise service delivery and quality outcomes for Aboriginal people using our services.
Ensure excellent standards through continuous improvement in systems, skills and practice.