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Sensitivity Warning

First Peoples

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this resource may contain images or names of people who have since passed away.

Position paper

While some have tried to distance Australia from the global Black Lives Matter movement, in an attempt to shut down the truth about the real and ongoing impacts of colonisation; Australia’s history of slavery and stolen wages, and the deaths of First Nations people in police or prison custody has been brought to the forefront of this discussion.

Key Findings/Recommendations:

  • Justice reform must involve the families whose loved ones have died in custody. This statement is intended to be a living document as we continue to consult and do the work with these families during such difficult times.
  • All governments need to hold police, prisons, medical officers, and others accountable through criminal and civil processes for all future and historic black deaths in custody. This includes the immediate referral to the respective Department of Public Prosecutions for criminal charges in all cases where there is sufficient evidence as well as providing adequate compensation to victims where appropriate.
  • All governments need to urgently prioritise the reallocation of public funding away from ineffective, punitive policies or on the expansion of prisons, particularly for-profit prisons and instead focus on strengthening and improving our communities with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led solutions. We need more excellent schools, community healthcare, and healing programs by and for our people.
  • NATSILS ask for a justice target to end the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth (10-17 years) and adults on community-based orders, in police custody and in prison within 10 years. Also for ambitious targets on family violence, child protection, disability and housing.

This statement is intended to be a living document as NATSILS continue to consult and do the work with the families impacted by deaths in custody.  Nothing in this document is intended to replace or override their own calls for justice.

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