Call to end Aboriginal deaths in custody

Call to end Aboriginal deaths in custody

Friday, 12 June 2020

It is time to work with Aboriginal organisations, and focus on early intervention, prevention and diversion from the criminal system, to build stronger and safer communities for us all.

We are adding our voice to support the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service (VALS) and Aboriginal community led organisations in calling for an end to Aboriginal deaths in custody.

More than 400 people have tragically lost their lives since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody over 30 years ago. Their deaths could have been prevented.

We see how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are charged more often for minor offences associated with poverty and more likely to be imprisoned.

We see how a lack of housing and culturally appropriate services and supports result in crises which lead to too many Aboriginal people being brought before the criminal justice system.

We see how the treatment and criminalisation of Aboriginal children in out of home care puts children as young as 10 years old in youth detention, changing the course of their lives.

Every year, we help thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients whose legal problems could have been avoided if they had access to health and social supports. It is time to work with Aboriginal-controlled organisations, and focus on early intervention and prevention, health-based responses and diversion from the criminal system, to build stronger and safer communities for us all.

We support VALS’ call to implement all recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody and to raise the age of criminal responsibility for children. We also support appropriate oversight into alleged police misconduct and the treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in detention.

We are committed to working in partnership with Aboriginal community legal organisations including VALS and Djirra to advocate for reform to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are treated with fairness, dignity and respect.

More information

Read the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service statement on Twitter. 

Learn more about the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service on their website.

Read more about Djirra.

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