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    Step 3 - Aboriginal Reference Group (Applicable to JH&FMHN internal research and JH&FMHN partnered research)

    About the Aboriginal Reference Group 

    Given the over-representation of Aboriginal people within the NSW custodial system and forensic environment, JH&FMHN recognises the importance of Aboriginal community engagement and governance for Aboriginal research. In non-custodial and forensic environments, researchers are expected to engage with Aboriginal organisations in each stage of the research process.  While there are no specific Aboriginal organisations operating within the custodial or forensic environments, the need for engagement with Aboriginal communities remains. As a result, the Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council (AH&MRC) was consulted and an agreement for an alternate engagement process for research being conducted within the custodial and forensic environment was reached whereby an Aboriginal Reference Group (ARG) was established to review research proposals for endorsement prior to submission to the AH&MRC Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC). 

    The ARG aims to:   

    • Make sure that the research proposals contain reference to appropriate design, implementation, reporting and results dissemination that ensures no harm to Aboriginal people with results that may benefit Aboriginal people 
    • Ensure researchers use culturally appropriate research practices and demonstrate an understanding of the values of Aboriginal people in the development of the research      proposal and, where required, provide education to researchers as part of this process
    • Advise on appropriate communications to make results and reports accessible to Aboriginal communities 
    • Provide advice on publications and co-authorship were appropriate 
    • Provide advice on maximising the immediate benefits of research for Aboriginal people (for example where possible employing Aboriginal people to work on the research project, workshops to feedback the finding to participants) including practical and policy impact of the research 
    • Provide advice on issues which may benefit from further exploration and future work.

    ARG Application

    To submit an application to the ARG, please complete the attached forms (listed below) and email them to

    • Research Endorsement Process (REP) Form and/or Protocol (this can be the REP Form if completed)
    • AH&MRC Coversheet (ARG uses the same coversheet as AH&MRC to avoid duplication)
    • AH&MRC Ethics Proposal Criteria (these criteria are assessed by the ARG in preparation for submission to the AH&MRC HREC)


    2018 ARG Meeting Dates  

    Closing Date for Applications (COB)

    Meeting Date

    Thursday 8th February

    Monday 19th February

    Thursday 15th March

    Monday 26th March

    Thursday 5th April

    Monday 16th April

    Thursday 3rd May

    Monday 14th May

    Thursday 31st May

    Monday 18th June

    Monday 2nd July

    Thursday 19th July

    Monday 6th August

    Thursday 16th August

    Monday 3rd September

    Thursday 13th September

    Monday 24th September

    Thursday 11th October

    Monday 22nd October

    Thursday 8th November

    Monday 26th November

    Thursday 13th December


    AH&MRC Ethics Application:

    The next step in the process is lodging an application with the Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council (AH&MRC) Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC). You will be required to submit: 

    • A letter of endorsement from the ARG
    • AH&MRC Coversheet
    • AH&MRC Ethics Proposal Criteria
    • A copy of your the Human Research Ethics Application (HREA)
    • A copy of letters of approval from other HRECs

    Please go to the AH&MRC website for specific details: 

    Relevant documents (listed below) have been attached for your convenience:

    If you have any additional questions please contact the ARG Project Officer on