CIJ stands in solidarity with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and those across the world fighting for the end of oppressive and racist laws and policing.
It is understandable that the tragedy of the brutal killing of George Floyd in America has galvanised people in the USA to reflect and act on the injustices suffered by African Americans throughout that Country’s history. The horrible way his life was snuffed out by a police officer, while other officers meekly looked on, has evoked a whole range of distressing emotions in all of us.
Unfortunately, the US is not alone in suffering from systemic racism and discrimination.This informative videoexplains how it works in the US and continues on through the generations.
Many Indigenous Australians have suffered the same outrageous treatment as George Floyd and far too many have continued to die in custody. It seems unthinkable that since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody in 1991, there have been over 430 more Aboriginal deaths in custody. It seems unthinkable that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men are 14.7 times more likely to be imprisoned and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women 21.2 times more likely to be imprisoned than their non-indigenous counterparts. Indigenous Australians make up just 3% of our population but 30% of our prison population. According to these figures Indigenous Australians, per head of population, are the most jailed people in the world.
As unthinkable as these statistics are, we must think about them and stand united in solidarity with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters. We must continue to work innovatively and passionately to change the culture and practices that led to the death of George Floyd and the on-going deaths in our police cells and prisons.
The latest from CIJ
CIJ engaged by BHP to advise on innovative justice responses BHP has recently commissioned the CIJ to undertake research to identify opportunities for innovative and restorative responses to sexual harassment and sexual assault within BHP. Recognising the mental and physical harm experienced by victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault, BHP is building a range of measures to better support victims, and improve prevention and response. Underpinned by a victim-centric approach, CIJ’s work for BHP will identify a range of options for responses, including new restorative processes and pathways for victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault that would support or add to existing investigatory, disciplinary and criminal/civil justice responses, and contribute to preventing future harm. CIJ’s advice to BHP will also account for BHP’s diverse operations, including its urban, remote and global operations.
An update on LACW One of our co-located partners, Law and Advocacy Centre for Women (LACW), has continued to support women who are in, or at risk of entering, the criminal justice system since COVID-19 restrictions were put in place. The courts have been sitting in a reduced capacity and have been prioritising the matters of people in custody, and in particular bail application hearings. Considering the heightened risk to people in prison regarding COVID-19, LACW has redoubled its efforts to ensure that vulnerable women are not remanded in custody, running a number of successful bail applications and doing everything possible to link women in with necessary support services in the community. Supports in the community are stretched at the best of times. COVID-19 restrictions have placed an even greater burden on community services, in particular those delivering housing, family violence and substance abuse support. This has presented a number of challenges for LACW's clients, making LACW's wrap-around service model even more crucial.
Launching SupportingJustice.net - webinar recording Launched by Minister Luke Donnellen with CIJ Director, Rob Hulls, CIJ Associate Director Stan Winford, Magistrate Pauline Spencer, self-advocate Dorothy Armstrong and VALID Advocacy Co-ordinator, Emily Piggott, 26 May 2020