NACCHO Aboriginal Youth Health : ‘Dark days of old Don Dale’: John Paterson CEO @AMSANTaus and Human rights groups condemn #NT Government and Minister Dale Wakefield’s new youth justice laws

“ The NT government talks proudly about its commitment to Aboriginal-led solutions, to co-design and to collaboration,

So why was this bill kept from those who are part of those solutions and collaborations until the moment it was introduced into the parliament?

The bill went “far beyond” clarifying technical matters,

It does not reflect the royal commission recommendations or the government’s previous policy position to accept and implement those recommendations.

These amendments bring back the draconian treatment of young people and will see children restrained and isolated at the discretion of detention staff.

Far from reducing ambiguity as the minister claims, the amendments reintroduce ambiguity with subjective definitions and powers.

The Chief Executive Officer of AMSANT, John Paterson The Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the Northern Territory (AMSANT) today condemned the Labor Government and Minister Wakefield in the strongest possible terms for its behaviour in avoiding debate and scrutiny in order to ram through retrograde changes to the Youth Justice Act for the operation of youth detention.

Read The Guardian Amnesty coverage 

Read full AMSANT Press Releases Part 1 Below

Read over 60 NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Don Dale detention articles 

“The Territory Labor Government is creating generational change and safer communities by overhauling the Youth Justice system and putting at-risk young people back on track.

“The safety of youth detention staff and detainees is absolutely paramount. These amendments will help to better manage security risks that puts lives in danger.

“Last year we amended the Youth Justice Act to ensure that force, restraints and isolation could not be used for the purpose of disciplining a young person in detention.

“The new amendments provide clarity by removing ambiguities in the Act to ensure that youth detention staff can better respond to serious and dangerous incidents. Laws often need adjusting to reflect operational realities

Minister for Territory Families, Dale Wakefield Read Full Press release Part 2 Below 

Part 1

Mr Paterson, said “The Minister has been misleading and disingenuous in her speeches and answers to the limited questioning that was allowed in the Legislative Assembly. Despite the Minister’s assertions, these amendments are not mere technical clarifications.

They are substantive changes that erode the small improvements that were made in 2018 in response to the Royal Commission.

They will allow harsh treatment of young people in detention to continue unopposed and unscrutinised.”

WATCH TV NEWS COVERAGE

Mr Paterson said that the Bill passed this afternoon with no scrutiny, is clearly intended to retrospectively make lawful, actions that were unlawful under the law as it existed until today. “We must ask ourselves whether this unseemly and undemocratic haste is intended to defeat legal actions currently on foot by young people who believe their treatment in detention has been unlawful.

Does the government know that unlawful treatment occurred and is now seeking to avoid accountability? It is difficult to draw any other conclusion despite the Minister’s obfuscation in the Assembly” said Mr Paterson.

AMSANT believes that the harsh treatment of young people now permitted under the law will lead to increased tensions and incidents in detention. When the next major incident occurs, the government, not the young people, must be held to account. “Let’s not forget” said Mr Paterson “that a large proportion of young people in detention have significant cognitive disabilities.

The government is condoning the use of restraint, isolation and physical force against young people with disabilities because they do not have the capacity to comply with the demands of the detention environment.

Right now, young people are being restrained in handcuffs and waist shackles to simply walk from one part of Don Dale to another under the control of a guard.”

“AMSANT is disgusted by this behaviour by a government and calls on the Chief Minister to withdraw this legislation prior to it receiving the assent of the Administrator. To do otherwise is to walk away from the Royal Commission recommendations.” said Mr Paterson. Mr Paterson seeks to remind the Chief Minister of his words and apparent distress when he responded to the Royal Commission.

The Chief Minister said in November 2017, “Our youth justice and child protection systems are supposed to make our kids better, not break them, they are supposed to teach them to be part of society, not withdraw”. “This legislation is not consistent with that statement”, Mr Paterson concluded

Protestor at Alice Springs Market yesterday 

1.2 Youth Justice Amendment Bill a return to the bad old days!

Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the Northern Territory (AMSANT) Chief Executive Officer, John Paterson, today called on the Chief Minister to halt the progress of the Youth Justice Amendment Bill 2019 through the Legislative Assembly until Aboriginal people and organisations have the chance to have a say.

“The government talks proudly about its commitment to Aboriginal led solutions, to co-design and to collaboration” said Mr Paterson.

“So why was this Bill kept from those who are part of those solutions and collaborations until the moment it was introduced into the Parliament?”

“The Minister has said the Bill simply clarifies technical matters and keeps faith with 2018 amendments.” Mr Paterson said.

“The Bill goes far beyond that. It undoes the positive progress in the 2018 changes which were a start in implementing the Royal Commission recommendations. The government consulted with Aboriginal organisations and other youth advocates and we supported the 2018 amendments.”

Mr Paterson said that this Bill is a u-turn on the progress in 2018. It does not reflect the Royal Commission recommendations or the Government’s previous policy position to accept and implement those recommendations.

“These amendments bring back the draconian treatment of young people and will see children restrained and isolated at the discretion of detention staff. Far from reducing ambiguity as the Minister claims, the amendments reintroduce ambiguity with subjective definitions and powers.”

Mr Paterson also questioned the need for retrospective effect of these amendments. “The only reason for retrospective effect is to legalise actions that were illegal when they were taken.” AMSANT said that the safety of both staff and young people is important and called on the government to work with Aboriginal organisations and other experts to explore the safety concerns and solutions. The government needs to think more carefully about the way forward. “

If the workforce cannot safely deliver a detention system under current laws which give quite considerable powers over the young people, the government needs to look at the skills, training and support of the workforce to ensure that they can. Attacking the human rights of young people is not the solution” Mr Paterson emphasised.

Mr Paterson noted that under the Diagrama Foundation which runs 70% of youth detention in Spain, for example, highly qualified staff with expertise in youth development, trauma and de-escalation work with young people in a therapeutic way that does not involve restraint, force and isolation. “Diagrama facilities rarely experience incidents of the kind seen last year at Don Dale.

Mr McGuire from Diagrama told audiences in Darwin last year that it is at least 10 years since there was a significant incident at a Diagrama facility. And Diagrama experiences a reoffending rate of only 20% across all its residents compared to 80% in the NT.”

Part 2

Passage of Youth Justice Act Amendments to Manage Security

Risks in the Territory’s Youth Detention Centres

March 2019

Today the Territory Labor Government passed amendments to the Youth Justice Act which will clarify and tighten the existing framework for managing safety and security risks within the youth detention centres.

The amendments will provide youth detention centre staff with a clear and unambiguous framework for exercising their powers, and will enable them to have a very clear guideline in their decision making when responding to dangerous and challenging situations.

The amendments include:

  • Clarify the circumstances in which force and restraints may be used, to account for situations where detainees mayact in a way that threatens the safety or security of a detention centre, but not in a way that presents an imminent risk
  • Create a consistent test to determine what is a reasonable use of force and restraints
  • Clarify the meaning of an emergency situation, which is relevant to the general application of all uses of force • Clarify the definition of separation
  • Enable screening and pat down searches of detainees in a broader range of circumstances
  • Include an express power to transfer a detainee from one detention centre to another

The amendments will remove any uncertainty around the operation of existing powers in the legislation, for both youth detention centre staff and detainees.

The amendments will apply retrospectively to the date in which the original provisions of the Act commenced (May 2018). This will remove any doubt about the original intention of these key provisions in the legislation.

NACCHO #SaveaDate : This week features #WorldDayofSocial Justice @Galambila #Culture and @awabakalltd #Youth ACCHO @DjirraVIC Plus @CongressMob International Conference #HousingCrisis #WIHC2019 #Homelessness

20 February World Day of Social Justice

Download the 2019 Health Awareness Days Calendar 

21 February Galambila ACCHO Gumbaynggirr Cultural Show for Coffs Harbour Pharmacists 

22 February Awabakal ACCHO Strong Youth Launch

6 March AIATSIS Culture and Policy Symposium

9 March  Bush to Beach Project Grazing Style Light Indigenous Marathon Fundraiser

12- 13 March Overcoming Indigenous Family Violence 

14 – 15 March 2019 Close the Gap for Vision by 2020 – National Conference 2019

21 March National Close the Gap Day

21 March Indigenous Ear Health Workshop Brisbane

24 -27 March National Rural Health Alliance Conference

20 -24 May 2019 World Indigenous Housing Conference. Gold Coast

18 -20 June Lowitja Health Conference Darwin

2019 Dr Tracey Westerman’s Workshops 

7 -14 July 2019 National NAIDOC Grant funding round opens

24 -26 September 2019 CATSINaM National Professional Development Conference

5-8 November The Lime Network Conference New Zealand 

20 February World Day of Social Justice

Social justice is an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations.

We uphold the principles of social justice when we promote gender equality or the rights of indigenous peoples and migrants.

We advance social justice when we remove barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability.

For the United Nations, the pursuit of social justice for all is at the core of our global mission to promote development and human dignity.

The adoption by the International Labour Organization of the Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization is just one recent example of the UN system’s commitment to social justice.

The Declaration focuses on guaranteeing fair outcomes for all through employment, social protection, social dialogue, and fundamental principles and rights at work.

2019 theme: If You Want Peace & Development, Work for Social Justice

Social justice is an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations. The ILO estimates that currently about 2 billion people live in fragile and conflict-affected situations, of whom more than 400 million are aged 15 to 29.

Job creation, better quality jobs, and better access to jobs for the bottom 40 per cent have the potential to increase incomes and contribute to more cohesive and equitable societies and thus are important to prevent violent conflicts and to address post-conflict challenges.

Download the 2019 Calendar Health Awareness Days

For many years ACCHO organisations have said they wished they had a list of the many Indigenous “ Days “ and Aboriginal health or awareness days/weeks/events.

With thanks to our friends at ZockMelon here they both are!

It even has a handy list of the hashtags for the event.

Download the 53 Page 2019 Health days and events calendar HERE

naccho zockmelon 2019 health days and events calendar

We hope that this document helps you with your planning for the year ahead.

Every Tuesday we will update these listings with new events and What’s on for the week ahead

To submit your events or update your info

Contact: Colin Cowell www.nacchocommunique.com

NACCHO Social Media Editor Tel 0401 331 251

Email : nacchonews@naccho.org.au

21 February Galambila ACCHO Gumbaynggirr Cultural Show for Coffs Harbour Pharmacists 

Please join us in the evening on Thursday the 21st of February 2019 for a Gumbaynggirr Cultural Show.

Through the QUMAX program (Quality Use of Medicines for Maximised for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people), Galambila AHS will be hosting a cultural event for pharmacists, pharmacy assistants and health professionals in Coffs Harbour to learn more about our local indigenous culture. QUMAX Cultural Awareness activities aim to improve culturally sensitive care for Aboriginal clients and enhance the working relationship between Galambila and local pharmacies.

The event will be run by Clark Webb and his team at Bularri Muurlay Nyanggan Aboriginal Corporation (BMNAC). BMNAC recently won a Bronze Medal at the 2018 NSW Tourism Awards for Excellence in Aboriginal Tourism. To see more information on what this great organisation is all about, visit their website at the following link: https://bmnac.org.au/

The night will include the following:

– Traditional Welcome to Country

– Traditional fire making

– Introductory Gumbaynggirr Language Lesson

– Sharing of traditional Gumbaynggirr dreaming stories that connect participants to our local landscape

– Uses of various varieties of plants, including medicinal

– Damper and tea will be provided on the night

Please RSVP by COB on Monday 18th of February 2019 via Eventbrite. Get in quick as places will be limited!

BOOK HERE 

21 February Winyarr Dreaming Creations, Marngrook workshop 

 

The wonderful Bernadette Atkinson will be leading the way, sharing her knowledge and creativity.

To avoid missing out, please contact the Koori Women’s Place team on 03 9244 3333 or kwp@djirra.org.au

22 February Awabakal ACCHO Strong Youth Launch

Featuring MC Sean Choolburra and performances by Koori Rep, Shanelle Dargan (as seen on X-Factor) and Last Kinnection.

RSVP: 0457 868 980 or zkhan@awabakal.org by February 15.

6 March AIATSIS Culture and Policy Symposium 

Info and Register

9 March  Bush to Beach Project Grazing Style Light Indigenous Marathon Fundraiser

The Port Macquarie Running Festival is happening over the weekend of the 9th-10th March 2019. As a part of this event we are running a fundraiser to support the important work being undertaken by Charlie & Tali Maher as a part of the Indigenous Marathon Project Running And Walking group. Come along to hear from Olympians Nova Peris, Steve Moneghette & Robert de Castella while meeting members of the Indigenous Marathon Project over lunch. We hope to see you there.

All funds raised will go towards the Bush to Beach Project. The project aims
to develop a strong relationship between the Northern Territory community of
Ntaria and the coastal community of Port Macquarie, with an exchange program
occurring several times throughout the year. This will include young Indigenous
people visiting the communities and participating in running and walking events
to promote healthy living. We thank you for your support.

Guest Speakers: Olympians Nova Peris, Steve Moneghetti & Robert de Castella.

Any enquiries please get in touch with Nina Cass or Charlie Maher (ninacass87@gmail.com / charles.maher@det.nsw.edu.au)

Tickets $59 Register HERE 

12- 13 March Overcoming Indigenous Family Violence 

Djirra has been chosen to be the charity partner of the next Overcoming Indigenous Family Violence conference organised by Aventedge in Melbourne on the 12th and 13th of March.

On the first day, Tuesday 12th of March, Marion Hansen, Djirra’s chairperson, will give the opening and closing address. At 10.30am, Djirra’s CEO Antoinette Braybrook will share her experience and knowledge on Supporting Aboriginal women, their children and communities to be safe, culturally strong and free from violence.

Family violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, predominantly women and their children, is a national crisis.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and their organisations hold the solutions to ending the disproportionate rates of family violence. However this requires the support and involvement of a range of stakeholders around the country.

The 5th annual Overcoming Indigenous Family Violence Forum (Melbourne & Perth) has partnered with Djirra and brings together representatives from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Organisations, specialist family violence support and prevention services, community legal services, government, police and not-for-profit organisations.

During the course of this conference and 1-day workshop, we will explore critical issues in working to end family violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including state and federal government initiatives; how frontline services are engaging in prevention, early intervention and response; learning from the stories and experiences of survivors of family violence; working more effectively with people who use violence towards accountability and behaviour change and the impacts of family violence on children and young people.

For more information on these events, pricing and discounts click below:
Melbourne | 12th-14th March 2019
Event homepage – www.ifv-mel.aventedge.com
Register here – http://elm.aventedge.com/ifv-mel-register

Perth | 5th-6th March 2019
Event homepage – www.ifv-per.aventedge.com
Register here – http://elm.aventedge.com/ifv-per/register

 

14 – 15 March 2019 Close the Gap for Vision by 2020 – National Conference 2019

Indigenous Eye Health (IEH) at the University of Melbourne and co-host Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT), are pleased to invite you to register for the Close the Gap for Vision by 2020:Strengthen & Sustain – National Conference 2019 which will be held at the Alice Springs Convention Centre on Thursday 14 and Friday 15 March 2019 in the Northern Territory. This conference is also supported by our partners, Vision 2020 Australia, Optometry Australia and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists.

The 2019 conference, themed ‘Strengthen & Sustain’ will provide opportunity to highlight the very real advances being made in Aboriginal and Torres Strait eye health. It will explore successes and opportunities to strengthen eye care and initiatives and challenges to sustain progress towards the goal of equitable eye care by 2020. To this end, the conference will include plenary speakers, panel discussions and presentations as well as upskilling workshops and cultural experiences.

Registration (including workshops, welcome reception and conference dinner) is $250. Registrations close on 28 February 2019.

Who should attend?

The conference is designed to bring people together and connect people involved in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander eye care from local communities, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, health services, non-government organisations, professional bodies and government departments from across the country. We would like to invite everyone who is working on or interested in improving eye health and care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

Speakers will be invited, however this year we will also be calling for abstracts for Table Top presentations and Poster presentations – further details on abstract submissions to follow.

Please share and forward this information with colleagues and refer people to this webpage where the conference program and additional informationwill become available in the lead up to the conference. Note: Please use the conference hashtag #CTGV19.

We look forward to you joining us in the Territory in 2019 for learning and sharing within the unique beauty and cultural significance of Central Australia.

Additional Information:

If you have any questions or require additional information, please contact us at indigenous-eyehealth@unimelb.edu.au or contact IEH staff Carol Wynne (carol.wynne@unimelb.edu.au; 03 8344 3984 email) or Mitchell Anjou (manjou@unimelb.edu.au; 03 8344 9324).

Close the Gap for Vision by 2020: Strengthen & Sustain – National Conference 2019 links:

– Conference General Information

– Conference Program

– Conference Dinner & Leaky Pipe Awards

– Staying in Alice Springs

More information available at: go.unimelb.edu.au/wqb6 

21 March National Close the Gap Day

 

Description

National Close the Gap Day is a time for all Australians to come together and commit to achieving health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Close the Gap Campaign will partner with Tharawal Aboriginal Aboriginal Medical Services, South Western Sydney, to host an exciting community event and launch our Annual Report.

Visit the website of our friends at ANTaR for more information and to register your support. https://antar.org.au/campaigns/national-close-gap-day

EVENT REGISTER

21 March Indigenous Ear Health Workshop Brisbane 

The Australian Society of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery is hosting a workshop on Indigenous Ear Health in Brisbane on Thursday, 21 March 2019.

This meeting is the 7th to be organised by ASOHNS and is designed to facilitate discussion about the crucial health issue and impact of ear disease amongst Indigenous people.

The meeting is aimed at bringing together all stakeholders involved in managing Indigenous health and specifically ear disease, such as:  ENT surgeons, GPs, Paediatricians, Nurses, Audiologists, Speech Therapists, Allied Health Workers and other health administrators (both State and Federal).

Download Program and Contact 

Indigenous Ear Health 2019 Program

24 -27 March National Rural Health Alliance Conference

Interested in the health and wellbeing of rural or remote Australia?

This is the conference for you.

In March 2019 the rural health sector will gather in Hobart for the 15th National Rural Conference.  Every two years we meet to learn, listen and share ideas about how to improve health outcomes in rural and remote Australia.

Proudly managed by the National Rural Health Alliance, the Conference has a well-earned reputation as Australia’s premier rural health event.  Not just for health professionals, the Conference recognises the critical roles that education, regional development and infrastructure play in determining health outcomes, and we welcome people working across a wide variety of industries.

Join us as we celebrate our 15th Conference and help achieve equitable health for the 7 million Australians living in rural and remote areas.

Hobart and its surrounds was home to the Muwinina people who the Alliance acknowledges as the traditional and original owners of this land.  We pay respect to those that have passed before us and acknowledge today’s Tasmanian Aboriginal community as the custodians of the land on which we will meet.

More info 

20 -24 May 2019 World Indigenous Housing Conference. Gold Coast

Thank you for your interest in the 2019 World Indigenous Housing Conference.

The 2019 World Indigenous Housing Conference will bring together Indigenous leaders, government, industry and academia representing Housing, health, and education from around the world including:

  • National and International Indigenous Organisation leadership
  • Senior housing, health, and education government officials Industry CEOs, executives and senior managers from public and private sectors
  • Housing, Healthcare, and Education professionals and regulators
  • Consumer associations
  • Academics in Housing, Healthcare, and Education.

The 2019 World Indigenous Housing Conference #2019WIHC is the principal conference to provide a platform for leaders in housing, health, education and related services from around the world to come together. Up to 2000 delegates will share experiences, explore opportunities and innovative solutions, work to improve access to adequate housing and related services for the world’s Indigenous people.

Event Information:

Key event details as follows:
Venue: Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre
Address: 2684-2690 Gold Coast Hwy, Broadbeach QLD 4218
Dates: Monday 20th – Thursday 23rd May, 2019 (24th May)

Registration Costs

  • EARLY BIRD – FULL CONFERENCE & TRADE EXHIBITION REGISTRATION: $1950 AUD plus booking fees
  • After 1 February FULL CONFERENCE & TRADE EXHIBITION REGISTRATION $2245 AUD plus booking fees

PLEASE NOTE: The Trade Exhibition is open Tuesday 21st May – Thursday 23rd May 2019

Please visit www.2019wihc.com for further information on transport and accommodation options, conference, exhibition and speaker updates.

Methods of Payment:

2019WIHC online registrations accept all major credit cards, by Invoice and direct debit.
PLEASE NOTE: Invoices must be paid in full and monies received by COB Monday 20 May 2019.

Please note: The 2019 WIHC organisers reserve the right of admission. Speakers, programs and topics are subject to change. Please visit http://www.2019wihc.comfor up to date information.

Conference Cancellation Policy

If a registrant is unable to attend 2019 WIHC for any reason they may substitute, by arrangement with the registrar, someone else to attend in their place and must attend any session that has been previously selected by the original registrant.

Where the registrant is unable to attend and is not in a position to transfer his/her place to another person, or to another event, then the following refund arrangements apply:

    • Registrations cancelled less than 60 days, but more than 30 days before the event are eligible for a 50% refund of the registration fees paid.
    • Registrations cancelled less than 30 days before the event are no longer eligible for a refund.

Refunds will be made in the following ways:

  1. For payments received by credit or debit cards, the same credit/debit card will be refunded.
  2. For all other payments, a bank transfer will be made to the payee’s nominated account.

Important: For payments received from outside Australia by bank transfer, the refund will be made by bank transfer and all bank charges will be for the registrant’s account. The Cancellation Policy as stated on this page is valid from 1 October 2018.

Terms & Conditions

please visit www.2019wihc.com

Privacy Policy

please visit www.2019wihc.com

 

18 -20 June Lowitja Health Conference Darwin


At the Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference 2019 delegates from around the world will discuss the role of First Nations in leading change and will showcase Indigenous solutions.

The conference program will highlight ways of thinking, speaking and being for the benefit of Indigenous peoples everywhere.

Join Indigenous leaders, researchers, health professionals, decision makers, community representatives, and our non-Indigenous colleagues in this important conversation.

More Info 

2019 Dr Tracey Westerman’s Workshops 

More info and dates

7 -14 July 2019 National NAIDOC Grant funding round opens 

The opening of the 2019 National NAIDOC Grant funding round has been moved forward! The National NAIDOC Grants will now officially open on Thursday 24 January 2019.

Head to www.naidoc.org.au to join the National NAIDOC Mailing List and keep up with all things grants or check out the below links for more information now!

https://www.finance.gov.au/resource-management/grants/grantconnect/

https://www.pmc.gov.au/indigenous-affairs/grants-and-funding/naidoc-week-funding

24 -26 September 2019 CATSINaM National Professional Development Conference

 

 

The 2019 CATSINaM National Professional Development Conference will be held in Sydney, 24th – 26th September 2019. Make sure you save the dates in your calendar.

Further information to follow soon.

Date: Tuesday the 24th to Thursday the 26th September 2019

Location: Sydney, Australia

Organiser: Chloe Peters

Phone: 02 6262 5761

Email: admin@catsinam.org.au

 

5-8 November The Lime Network Conference New Zealand 

This years  whakatauki (theme for the conference) was developed by the Scientific Committee, along with Māori elder, Te Marino Lenihan & Tania Huria from .

To read about the conference & theme, check out the  website. 

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Women’s Health : The @DebKilroy #sistersinside #Freethepeople campaign to free Aboriginal women jailed for unpaid fines has raised almost $300K : We do not need to criminalise poverty.

 

“Originally the campaign asked people to give up two coffees in their week and donate $10 so we could raise $100,000.

“However less than two days later, more than a $100,000 was raised, so the target is now to hit 10,000 donors.”

Campaign organiser Debbie Kilroy, the CEO of advocacy charity Sisters Inside, told Pro Bono News the campaign now aimed to go well beyond the 6,000 donors they had currently. See Part 1 Below 

The money will be there for any woman who’s imprisoned, and the money will be spent on the community for women who have warrants for their arrest by the police.

“Every cent will be spent for the purposes of that … particularly Aboriginal mothers are the ones we want to target and prioritise to pay those fines, so those warrants are revoked, so they don’t end up in prison.”

Ms Kilroy told the ABC the money raised by donors would be spent on supporting formerly incarcerated women and ensuring any outstanding warrants were paid so the women were not at risk of jail. See Part 2 below 

Donate at the the GOFUNDME PAGE

” NACCHO supports the abolition of prisons for First Nations women. The incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island women should be a last resort measure.

It is time to consider a radical restructuring of the relationship between Aboriginal people and the state.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their communities must be part of the design, decision-making and implementation of government funded policies, programs and services that aim to reduce – or abolish –the imprisonment of our women.

Increased government investment is needed in community-led prevention and early intervention programs designed to reduce violence against women and provide therapeutic services for vulnerable women and girls. Programs and services that are holistic and culturally safe, delivered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations.

NACCHO calls for a full partnership approach in the Closing the Gap Refresh, so that Aboriginal people are at the centre of decision-making, design and delivery of policies that impact on them.

We are seeking a voice to the Commonwealth Parliament, so we have a say over the laws that affect us. “

Pat Turner NACCHO CEO Speaking at  Sisters Inside 9th International Conference 15 Nov 2018

Read full speaking notes HERE

Part 1: The campaign was launched on 5 January with the aim of raising $100,000 – enough to clear the debt of 100 women in Western Australia who have been imprisoned or are at risk of being imprisoned for unpaid court fines.

But as of this morning 16 January the campaign has already raised $280,460, after attracting international attention.

Australie: une cagnotte pour faire libérer des femmes aborigènes

WA is the only state that regularly imprisons people for being unable to pay fines, and ALP research in 2014 found that more than 1,100 people in WA had been imprisoned for unpaid fines each year since 2010.

Under current state laws, the registrar of the Fines Enforcement Registry, who is an independent court officer, can issue warrants for unpaid court fines as a last resort.

The campaign’s crowdfunding page said this system meant Aboriginal mothers were languishing in prison because they did not have the capacity to pay fines.

“They are living in absolute poverty and cannot afford food and shelter for their children let alone pay a fine. They will never have the financial capacity to pay a fine,” the page said.

Money raised from the campaign has already led to the release of one woman from jail, while another three women have had their fines paid so they won’t be arrested.

Campaign organisers are currently working on paying the fines for another 30 women.

The success of the campaign has put pressure on the WA government to reform the law to stop vulnerable people entering jail.

Kilroy said the current law criminalised poverty and she criticised the Labor government’s inaction on the issue despite making a pledge to repeal the lawwhile in opposition.

“The government said prior to their election victory that this was one of their policy platforms, but it’s now been two years and nothing has changed,” she said.

“It’s just not good enough. It does not take that long to change the laws and so we’re calling on the government to change the law as a matter of urgency.”

A spokeswoman for WA Attorney-General John Quigley told Pro Bono News the government intended to introduce a comprehensive package of amendments to the law in the first half of 2019, so warrants could only be handed down by a court.

“These reforms are designed to ensure that people who can afford to pay their fines do, and those that cannot have opportunities to pay them off over time or work them off in other ways,” the spokesperson said.

The Department of Justice has denied the campaign’s claim that single Aboriginal mothers made up the majority of those in prison who could not pay fines.

Departmental figures provided to Pro Bono News state that on 6 January, two females were held for unpaid fines, one of whom identified as Aboriginal.

According to the department, data suggests there has not been an Aboriginal woman in jail in WA for unpaid fines since the campaign started on 5 January.

Part 2 Update from ABC Website Fewer fine defaulters now in prison: Government

The WA Department of Justice said numbers of people jailed solely for fine defaulting had fallen sharply in the past 12 months — with the average daily population falling to “single digits”.

WA Attorney-General John Quigley agreed, saying said recent figures also showed a recent drop in the number of Indigenous women in custody for fine defaulting.

Mr Quigley said the issue of fine defaulters going to prison would be addressed very soon.

“I have a whole raft of changes to the laws through the Cabinet, and [they] are currently with the Parliamentary Council for drafting to Parliament,” he said.

“I have been working assiduously with the registrar of fines … to find other ways to reduce the numbers.”

In terms of the money raised by Sisters Inside, Mr Quigley said he hoped it was being put to good use.

Ms Kilroy told the ABC the money raised by donors would be spent on supporting formerly incarcerated women and ensuring any outstanding warrants were paid so the women were not at risk of jail.

“The money will be there for any woman who’s imprisoned, and the money will be spent on the community for women who have warrants for their arrest by the police.

“Every cent will be spent for the purposes of that … particularly Aboriginal mothers are the ones we want to target and prioritise to pay those fines, so those warrants are revoked, so they don’t end up in prison.”

Call for income-appropriate fines

WA Aboriginal Legal Service chief executive Dennis Eggington said Indigenous women, and those in poverty, were disproportionately affected by the practice of jailing for fines.

“Fines do not have any correlation to someone’s income. If you get $420 on Centrelink and then face a $1,000 fine you are in real trouble and you are not going to be able to pay the fine,” he said.

A head shot of Dennis Eggington with Aboriginal colours in the background.

PHOTO Dennis Eggington for some people it’s easier to go to jail than find the money for fines.

ABC NEWS: SARAH COLLARD

“WA could lead the country at looking at a way where fines are appropriate to the income no matter the offence.”

“It’s really a matter of indirect discrimination. If women are being overrepresented in warrants of commitment, that is having a devastating impact on children and their families.”

He said there was a culture which had led to many Indigenous people feeling as though they had no choice but to go prison for fines.

“It’s much easier to do a couple of days in jail and cut your fine out than to try and find the money to pay the fine,” Mr Eggington said.

”It’s an indictment on the country; It’s an indictment on Australia as a whole that we as one of the most disadvantaged group in Australia have had to develop those ways to survive.

“It’s a terrible, terrible thing

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #YouthJustice : Download @aihw report : Highlighting Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander young people under youth justice supervision over-represented in treatment for alcohol and other drug use

” Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander young people were over-represented among the study cohort. Of the just over 17,000 young people who received either an alcohol or other drug treatment episode or youth justice supervision, 3 in 10 were Indigenous.

In particular, Indigenous young people were over-represented among the ‘dual-service’ client population. During the 4-year period, Indigenous young people were 14 times as likely to experience both youth justice supervision and drug and alcohol services as their non-Indigenous counterparts.” 

Extract from AIHW Overlap between youth justice supervision and alcohol and other drug treatment services: 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2016

AIHW INFO PAGE and Data etc 

Download Copy HERE

aihw-youth justice system

1 in 3 young people under youth justice supervision receive treatment for alcohol and other drug use

Young people under youth justice supervision are 30 times as likely to receive an alcohol or other drug treatment service as young Australians generally, according to a new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Overlap between youth justice supervision and alcohol and other drug treatment services, shows 1 in 3 young people aged 10–17 under youth justice supervision during the 4 years to June 2016 also received alcohol and other drug treatment services at some point during the same period.

‘Today’s report highlights the considerable overlap between young people under youth justice supervision and those receiving drug and alcohol treatment services. Through bringing together data on both services, we have been able to determine that there were just over 2,500 ‘dual service’ clients – that is, young people that accessed both youth justice supervision and drug and alcohol services within the study period’ said AIHW spokesperson Anna Ritson.

Nearly 1 in 4 (23%) young people under youth justice supervision received treatment for cannabis as their principal drug of concern, 1 in 12 (8%) for alcohol and 1 in 20 (5%) for amphetamines. Less than 1% of young Australians in the general population received treatment for each of these principal drugs of concern.

Dual-service clients were, overall, more likely than other young people in the study to receive multiple alcohol and other drug treatment services and have multiple drugs of concern.

‘For dual service clients, almost half (47%) received 2 or more alcohol or other drug treatment episodes over the 4-year study period. However, where the young person was not under youth justice supervision, this falls to just under 1 in 5 (19%),’ Ms Ritson said.

Today’s report builds on established evidence about the overlaps that exist among young people who experience child protection, youth justice supervision, homelessness, mental health disorders, and use of alcohol and other drugs.

The high level of overlap between clients of the youth justice and alcohol and other drug treatment service sectors indicates a need for more integrated services and person-centered service delivery, to reduce future reliance on health and welfare services and improve outcomes for young people.

Summary

Some young people are vulnerable and experience multiple levels of disadvantage. Evidence shows that overlaps exist among young people who experience child protection, youth justice supervision, homelessness, mental health disorders, and problematic use of alcohol and other drugs. Understanding the pathways and interactions with the health and welfare sectors for these young people is crucial for effective service delivery and targeted early intervention services.

Despite the relationship between youth offending and the use of alcohol and other drugs, data about the overlap between the services provided to young people by these 2 sectors in Australia has not been previously available.

This report presents information on young people aged 10–17 who were under youth justice supervision (both in the community, and in detention) and/or received an alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment service between 1 July 2012 and 30 June 2016. Those who received both these services are referred to in this report as dual service clients.

Young people under youth justice supervision were 30 times as likely as the young Australian population to receive an alcohol and other drug treatment service

Of young people who were under youth justice supervision from 1 July 2012 to

30 June 2016, 1 in 3 (33%) also received an AOD treatment service at some point during the same 4-year period, compared with just over 1% of the general Australian population of the same age.

Nearly 1 in 4 (23%) young people under youth justice supervision received treatment for a principal drug of concern of cannabis, 1 in 12 (8%) for alcohol, and 1 in 20 (5%) for amphetamines. Less than 1% of young Australians in the general population of the same age received an AOD treatment for each of these principal drugs of concern. This means that compared with the Australian population, young people under youth justice supervision were 33 times as likely to receive an AOD treatment for cannabis, 27 times as likely to be treated for alcohol, and more than 50 times as likely to be treated for amphetamines.

Young people who received an alcohol and other drug treatment service were 30 times as likely as the Australian population to be under youth justice supervision

Of young people who received an AOD treatment service, 1 in 5 (21%) were also under youth justice supervision at some point during the same 4-year period, compared with 0.7% of the Australian population of the same age. About 1 in 4 (26%) young people who received an AOD treatment as a diversion (police and court referrals) in 2012–13 subsequently spent time under youth justice supervision within 3 years.

Young people who received an alcohol and other drug treatment service for volatile solvents or amphetamines were the most likely to also have youth justice supervision

Of the 11,981 young people who received an AOD treatment service, those whose principal drug of concern was volatile solvents or amphetamines were the most likely to have also been under youth justice supervision.

Dual service clients were more likely than those who only received alcohol and other drug treatment services to have multiple treatment episodes and drugs of concern

Nearly half (47%) of dual service clients received more than 1 AOD treatment episode in the 4-year period, compared with about 1 in 5 (19%) of those who received only an AOD treatment service. One in 5 (20%) dual service clients received services for multiple principal drugs of concern, compared with 4% of those who received only an AOD treatment service.

Young Indigenous Australians were 14 times as likely as their non-Indigenous counterparts to receive both services

Young Indigenous Australians were over-represented among the dual service clients—

2% of young Indigenous Australians had contact with both services during the 4-year period, compared with 0.1% of non-Indigenous young people.

NACCHO Aboriginal Children’s Health : Read @keenan_mundine’s powerful speech to @UNHumanRights Council calling for Australian Governments to end injustice of Indigenous kids in prison #RaisetheAge Plus #IndigenousX 8 things the government can do right now to end this injustice “

“I have spent more than half of my life behind bars, and I want to make sure this will not be the same future for my children.

Right now, children as young as ten are still being locked away in prisons across Australia.

This year alone, around 600 children under the age of 14 were taken from their families and imprisoned. This injustice must end.

”In joining this Council, the Australian Government promised to uphold human rights and champion Indigenous peoples’ rights. For as long as Indigenous children are 25 times more likely to be sent to prison than non-Indigenous children, these will be hollow promises “

Indigenous advocate, Keenan Mundine, a former youth prisoner and principal consultant of Inside Out Aboriginal Justice Consultancy, has travelled to Geneva to address the UN Human Rights Council about the Turnbull Government’s failure to stop ten year old children being sent to prison.

 ” The justice system is stacked against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids at every stage, from police through to the courts. It is undeniable that racism is a factor, whether it’s institutional or direct.

It is also clear that invasion and past policies of dispossession of land, stolen children and discrimination has led to this shocking statistic, with a direct link proven between contact with the justice system and the entrenched poverty, homelessness, child removal, lack of education, family violence, substance abuse, disability, mental and other health issues.

But there are solutions. Here are 8 things the government can do right now to end this injustice “

Cheryl Axleby Chair of NATSILS From Indigenous X

Two years after the ABC’s Four Corners program exposed horrific abuse of children in the Don Dale prison, pressure is mounting on Australian state and territory governments to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14 years.

Mr Mundine told the Council – the world’s peak human rights body of which Australia is now a member – that the Turnbull Government must stop ignoring human rights abuses at home.

“I have travelled from across the world to address this Council because I want my sons to grow up in a country that treats them fairly. This one simple change to our laws, will make a very big difference. Indigenous children in Australia deserve what I was denied – equality and freedom,” said Mr Mundine.

The Turnbull Government called for the Northern Territory Royal Commission into the horrors of Don Dale in 2016, but has failed to deliver a key recommendation for reform – raising the age at which children can be charged, hauled before the courts and sent to prison.

Australia has one of the lowest ages of criminal responsibility in the democratic world. The average age in Europe is 14 years.

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services, the Human Rights Law Centre, Amnesty International and other medical, Indigenous and human rights organisations have been pushing all Australian governments to commit to raising the age of criminal responsibility.

Cheryl Axleby, Co-Chair of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services, said in addition to raising the age to 14 years, more support was needed for Indigenous-led programs.

“Australian youth prisons are institutional racism in action. Criminalising the behaviour of young, vulnerable children – who are mostly Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander – creates further disadvantage and traps children in the criminal justice system. It’s time to raise the age to 14 and fund wrap-around Indigenous-led supports that keep kids strong in culture and community,” said Ms Axleby.

When seeking election to the Human Rights Council, the Turnbull Government pledged to put Indigenous rights front and centre and progress the realisation of human rights through the implementation of UN recommendations and resolutions.

In the last five years, the UN has demanded Australia uphold children’s rights and raise the age of criminal responsibility on numerous occasions.

Ruth Barson, a Director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre, said children should be in classrooms not courtrooms.

“No child should be strip searched, hand cuffed, or locked in a prison cell. The Turnbull Government cannot defend human rights on the world stage, while allowing primary school aged children to be sent to prisons at home. Raising the age is a simple reform that would make a world of difference. What we need is for our governments to show some leadership,” said Ms Barson.

Across Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children make up over 50% of the children locked away in youth prisons. Western Australia, the Northern Territory and South Australia have the highest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth imprisonment rates in the country.

Belinda Lowe, Indigenous Rights Campaigner at Amnesty International, said the criminal justice system is failing kids and it’s failing communities.

“Children thrive best with their families and in their communities. Let’s instead focus on prevention not detention. Let’s raise the age that kids can be put behind bars, and provide early support to children and their families who are facing difficulties in their lives, so children don’t offend in the first place,” said Ms Lowe.

This session of the Human Rights Council session will run until 6 July.

The Human Rights Law Centre will attend every day of the Council session and provide regular updates on the Australian Government’s actions.

Read: Keenan Mundine’s statement

Watch: Keenan Mundine’s statement

Plus Indigenous X post

Cheryl Axleby Chair of NATSILS From Indigenous X

Every single child in prison in the Northern Territory is Indigenous.

This is systemic racism in action.

This damning fact is causing outrage across Australia, two years after we saw the torture and abuse coming out of Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in the nightmarish Four Corners Report. A Royal Commission followed, with hundreds of recommendations to end the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids in prison, yet here we are.

But the Northern Territory is not alone; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids are over-imprisoned in every state and territory in Australia, and are locked up at a rate 25 times higher than that of other youth.

We know the reasons why, and it’s not because there are no “bad” non-Indigenous children in the Northern Territory.

The justice system is stacked against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids at every stage, from police through to the courts. It is undeniable that racism is a factor, whether it’s institutional or direct.

It is also clear that invasion and past policies of dispossession of land, stolen children and discrimination has led to this shocking statistic, with a direct link proven between contact with the justice system and the entrenched poverty, homelessness, child removal, lack of education, family violence, substance abuse, disability, mental and other health issues.

But there are solutions. Here are 8 things the government can do right now to end this injustice:

1. Support children, families and communities to stay strong and together

No child belongs in prison.

Prison doesn’t “work” – many kids come out damaged and more likely to go back in. Children need love and support and the care of their communities, so they can be brought up strong in their identity and connection with country.

There is a large cross-over between experiencing child removal, disability, family violence, mental health issues, and the justice system. But families need culturally appropriate wrap-around supports in place to stay strong and together. Policies need to change to stop forced child removals, reduce family violence and help heal the ongoing trauma of the Stolen Generations.

2. Raise the Age of Criminal Responsibility

Australia is far behind the rest of the world in locking up very young children – the global median age of criminal responsibility is 14, but the Australia-wide age is 10.

Science shows these young children are not yet able to understand the long-term consequences of their actions, or to control their impulses. It is often the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children who come to the attention of the justice system at a young age.

Once in the system, younger children are more likely to be return to prison. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids are hugely over-represented in this age bracket, so raising the age will help to end their over-representation in the system.

The NT Royal Commission recommended for government to raise the age. The UN has repeatedly criticised Australia for locking up kids as young as 10, which is below minimum international standards and recommended age, and a breach of their rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It’s time for all Australian governments to #RaisetheAge to 14.

3. Get children who are not sentenced out of prison

Most kids in prison are not sentenced and may not even have had their trial yet. This goes against international standards and can be incredibly damaging for kids, leading to further contact with the justice system.

This can be due to police and courts not granting children bail, as well as delays in court processes and legal representation. Compliance with and over-policing of bail conditions is a huge issue for Aboriginal children, or not having a “suitable” address to be bailed to, or a guardian available to come to court.

This can be fixed by having better family supports in place so bail isn’t denied due to welfare reasons, amending unfair bail legislation, increased funding and access to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services, bail support programs, having custody notification services in place and investing in community alternatives to prison.

4. Adequately fund Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled legal and other support services

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services and Family Violence Legal Prevention Services are the preferred and often only option for legal representation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

These services are community-controlled and culturally safe, and understand the systemic issues that stack the system against Indigenous people. However, these are desperately under-resourced to meet legal need, and despite the reversal of further fundings cuts in 2017, budget papers show that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services will face a further $5m cut from 2020.

It’s not just legal services that struggle for funding, but most Aboriginal Community-Controlled Organisations across health, disability, education, housing and youth justice diversion.

In the Northern Territory, Bushmob had to end its bush camp program – where the government could have been sending kids to learn life skills and reconnect with culture, rather than to prison.

Another example is Balit Ngulu – the only Aboriginal youth specific legal service in Australia – is facing closure this year due to lack of funding. Our communities have the answers but they need Government support.

5. End abusive practices in prisons

Whether it’s Don Dale, Cleveland, Banksia Hill, Bimberi, Parkville, Cobham – children in prisons around Australia are subject to solitary confinement, strip searches, assaults, spit hoods, hog-tying, sedating, deprivation of food, hygiene, exercise and education. These abuses are an indictment on Australia and they are continuing to happen right around the country. This year it was revealed that one young man in Banksia Hill spent over a year in isolation.

Independent oversight is needed so these human rights abuses end and perpetrators are held accountable.

6. Set targets to end the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in prison

Decades have gone by without any progress on the rates of overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids in prison.

The Federal Government must set national justice targets on ending rates of imprisonment and violence as part of the Closing the Gap framework so it can measure, track, report and be held accountable for achieving national progress on ending the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in prison.

There is currently a refresh of the targets – now is the time to add them in.

7. Improve collection and use of data

It is amazing how much we simply do not know about children being deprived of their liberty, because governments are either not tracking or refuse to be transparent about youth justice data.

Data is necessary to inform smart and effective policy choices, and to fully understand the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids by different age groups, genders, disability, socio-economic groups, LGBTIQ+ identity and geographic locations.

8. Work through COAG to reform State and Territory laws that breach children’s rights

The Australian Government must accept that this is a national shame which demands national leadership.

The solutions are in the recommendations of the avalanche of commissions and inquiries stemming back to the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody over 27 years ago.

Most recently, solutions were set out in the Northern Territory Royal Commission Report and the Australian Law Reform Commission’s ‘Pathways to Justice’ Report – neither of which have received an adequate national response.

The Australian Government can set minimum youth justice standards to make sure that all laws are compliant with human rights and do not disproportionately affect Indigenous kids.

NATSILS, as part of Change The Record Coalition, called for these changes last year in response to the NT Royal Commission as part of a National Plan of Action. The Australian Government must hear our voices and adopt our recommendations so that our children are no longer abused in prison, and instead are supported to thrive in their communities.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Justice #NRW2018 #IHMayDay18 : Queensland Attorney General @YvetteDAth launches #LawYarn a cutting edge health and justice resource at Wuchopperen ACCHO : A unique resource which supports good health outcomes


‘Legal problems with money, housing, court and families will lead to poor health if they are not resolved. Poor health impacts on your capacity to make good decisions and care for your children, for example resulting in engagement with the courts or child protection system.

‘It is no coincidence Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders – among the most incarcerated people in the world – also have some of the poorest health outcomes in the world.’

Wuchopperen Chairperson, NACCHO Deputy Chairperson and LawRight lawyer Donnella Mills said health and legal needs are often interlinked.

“We know that legal problems with money, housing, families and crime can often lead to poor health outcomes for people if they are not resolved,” Mrs D’Ath said.

The State Government allocated $55,000 to not-for-profit community legal organisation LawRight to develop a legal ‘health check’ project to help identify the potential legal needs of Indigenous people

Law Yarn helps health practitioners yarn with members of the Indigenous community about their legal problems and connect them with legal help.”

At today’s launch in Cairns, Mrs D’Ath said Law Yarn was a free, innovative conversation starter to help Indigenous people identify their legal issues

See Ministers Press Release Part 2

 

Queensland Attorney General Yvette D’ath has launched the cutting edge health and justice resource ‘Law Yarn’ at Wuchopperen today.

Download the Law Yarn Edition

Lawright Yarn Edition 1

So… what is Law Yarn ?

Law Yarn is a unique resource which supports good health outcomes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Law Yarn helps health workers to yarn with members of remote and urban communities about their legal problems and connect them to legal help.

Legal problems with money, housing, crime and families will lead to poor health if they are not resolved.

Without Law Yarn the problems won’t be identified and will instead be ignored. This turns them into bigger problems

What are the key legal problems faced by the community

Law Yarn uses images of cyclones, mangroves, stars and journeys to help vulnerable communities recognise their legal problems in context and learn where to get help

Law Yarn, an initiative of community legal service LawRight, will see specially trained Wuchopperen health staff yarn with clients about legal issues which might be affecting them, and connect them to the free on-site legal services delivered by LawRight and Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Service.

The health staff will use the highly visual, culturally appropriate Law Yarn tool to help clients feel at ease, and identify and discuss legal problems.

Wuchopperen staff are currently being trained to use the resource, with the program being rolled out in the second half of 2018.

Law Yarn will run until the end of June 2019 and will then be evaluated by distinguished legal academics Fiona Allison, Chris Cunneen and Melanie Schwartz.

Part 2: Law Yarn to help improve Indigenous health

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath has launched a legal ‘health check’ for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in Cairns, as part of National Reconciliation Week.

Mrs D’Ath said Law Yarn would be trialled at Wuchopperen Health Service Limited, the Cairns-based Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical service where LawRight and the Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Service (QIFVLS) operate weekly legal services.

“Health practitioners will be trained to help a person complete their Law Yarn,” she said.

“The resources use Indigenous symbols by artist Rikki Salam to represent the main legal problems – money, housing, family and crime – to help structure the yarn.

“A handy how-to guide includes conversation prompts and advice on how to capture the person’s family, financial, tenancy or criminal law legal needs as well as discussing and recording their progress.”

Mrs D’Ath said LawRight has worked with Wuchopperen and QIFVLS and consulted with the Health Justice Partnerships Network and Health Justice Australia to make this innovative project happen.

“The trial will undergo independent academic evaluation but other Australian legal and health services have already shown an interest in the resource,” she said.

 

 

 

 

 

NACCHO Media Alerts : Top 10 Current Aboriginal Health News Stories to keep you up to date

1. Aboriginal sexual health: The Australian : Was the syphilis epidemic preventable ? NACCHO responds

2.Royal Flying Doctors Service extra 4-year funding $84 million Mental Health and Dental Services

3.Nurses PAQ continues political membership campaign spreading false and misleading information about our cultural safety

4.AMSANT has called for re-doubled efforts to implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission into the care and protection of children in partnership with NT Aboriginal leaders

5.Dialysis facilities worth $17 million are sitting padlocked, empty and unused in WA’s north

6.ALRC Report into Incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.

7. Minister Ken Wyatt : Listening to Indigenous Needs: Healthy Ears Program Extended with $29.4 commitment

8.Tangentyere Alice Springs Women’s Family Safety Group visits Canberra

9.Minister Ken Wyatt launches our NACCHO RACGP National Guide to a preventative health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

10. Your guide to a healthy Easter : #Eggs-actly  

 

1.Aboriginal sexual health: The Australian : Was the syphilis epidemic preventable ? NACCHO responds

“These (STIs) are preventable diseases and we need increased testing, treatment plans and a ­culturally appropriate health ­education campaign that focuses resources on promoting safe-sex messages delivered to at-risk ­communities by our trained Aboriginal workforce,”

Pat Turner, chief executive of peak body the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, is adamant about this.

Read full article in Easter Monday The Australian or Part B below

2.Royal Flying Doctors Service extra 4-year funding $84 million Mental Health and Dental Services

Read full press release here

 

3.Nurses PAQ continues political membership campaign spreading false and misleading information about cultural safety

SEE NACCHO Response

SEE an Indigenous Patients Response

See Nurses PAQ Misleading and false campaign

4. AMSANT  has called for re-doubled efforts to implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission into the care and protection of children in partnership with NT Aboriginal leaders

Read full AMSANT press Release

Listen to interview with Donna Ah Chee

Press Release @NACCHOChair calls on the Federal Government to work with us to keep our children safe

#WeHaveTheSolutions Plus comments from CEO’s @Anyinginyi @DanilaDilba

4.Dialysis facilities worth $17 million are sitting padlocked, empty and unused in WA’s north

Read full Story HERE

6.ALRC Report into Incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People;

Read Download Full Transcript

Senator Patrick Dodson

Download the report from HERE

Community Groups Call For Action on Indigenous Incarceration Rates

7. Minister Ken Wyatt : Listening to Indigenous Needs: Healthy Ears Program Extended with $29.4 commitment

The Australian Government has committed $29.4 million to extend the Healthy Ears – Better Hearing, Better Listening Program, to help ensure tens of thousands more Indigenous children and young adults grow up with good hearing and the opportunities it brings.

Read Press Release HEAR

8.Tangentyere Alice Springs Women’s Family Safety Group visits Canberra

This week the Tangentyere Women’s Family Safety Group from Alice Springs were in Canberra. They shared with politicians, their own solutions for their own communities, and they are making an enormous difference.
Big thanks to all the Tangentyere women who made it to Canberra.

Read Download the Press Release

TANGENTYERE WOMEN’S FAMILY SAFETY GROUP (FED

9. Minister Ken Wyatt launches our NACCHO RACGP National Guide to a preventative health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Read press releases and link to Download the National Guide

10. Your guide to a  healthy Easter : #Eggs-actly  

And finally hope you had a Happy Easter all you mob ! After you have enjoyed your chocolate eggs and hot cross buns , this is how much exercise you will require to work of those Easter treats .

For medical and nutrition advice please check with your ACCHO Doctor , Health Promotion / Lifestyle teams or one of our ACCHO nutritionists

 

Part B Full Text The Australian Article Easter Monday

There is no reason it should have happened, especially not in a first-world country like Australia, but it has: indigenous communities in the country’s north are in the grip of wholly treatable sexually transmitted diseases.

In the case of syphilis, it is an epidemic — West Australian Labor senator Patrick Dodson ­described it as such, in a fury, when health department bureaucrats mumbled during Senate estimates about having held a few “meetings” on the matter.

There have been about 2000 syphilis notifications — with at least 13 congenital cases, six of them fatal — since the outbreak began in northern Queensland in 2011, before spreading to the Northern Territory, Western Australia and, finally, South Australia.

What’s worse, it could have been stopped. James Ward, of the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, wrote in mid-2011 that there had been a “downward trend” over several years and it was likely at that point that the “elimination of syphilis is achievable within indigenous ­remote communities”.

But governments were slow to react, and Ward is now assisting in the design of an $8.8 million emergency “surge” treatment approach on the cusp of being rolled out in Cairns and Darwin, with sites in the two remaining affected states yet to be identified.

It will be an aggressive strategy — under previous guidelines, you had to have been identified during a health check as an active carrier of syphilis to be treated. Now, anyone who registers antibodies for the pathogen during a blood prick test, whether actively carrying syphilis or not, will receive an ­immediate penicillin injection in an attempt to halt the infection’s geographical spread.

This is key: the high mobility of indigenous people in northern and central Australia means pathogens cross jurisdictions with ­impunity. Australian Medical ­Association president Michael Gannon calls syphilis a “clever bacterium that will never go away”, warning that “bugs don’t respect state borders”.

Olga Havnen, one of the Northern Territory’s most respected public health experts, points out that many people “will have connections and relations from the Torres Strait through to the Kimberley and on to Broome — and it’s only a matter of seven or eight kilometres between PNG and the northernmost islands there in the Torres Strait”.

“This is probably something that’s not really understood by the broader Australian community,” Havnen says. “I suspect once you get a major outbreak of something like encephalitis or Dengue fever, any of those mosquito-borne diseases, and that starts to encroach onto the mainland, then people will start to get a bit worried.”

Olga Havnen, CEO of the Danila Dilba Health Service, says transmission is complex issue in Australia’s indigenous communities.
Olga Havnen, CEO of the Danila Dilba Health Service, says transmission is complex issue in Australia’s indigenous communities.

But it is not just syphilis — ­indeed, not even just STIs — that have infectious disease authorities concerned and the network of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations stretched.

Chlamydia, the nation’s most frequently diagnosed STI in 2016 based on figures from the Kirby Institute at the University of NSW, is three times more likely to be contracted by an indigenous Australian than a non-­indigenous one.

The rate was highest in the NT, at 1689.1 notifications per 100,000 indigenous people, compared with 607.9 per 100,000 non-indigenous Territorians. If you’re indigenous, you’re seven times more likely to contract gonorrhoea, spiking to 15 times more likely if only women are considered. Syphilis, five times more likely.

As the syphilis response gets under way, health services such as the one Havnen leads, the Darwin-based Danila Dilba, will be given extra resources to tackle it. “With proper resourcing, if you want to be doing outreach with those people who might be visitors to town living in the long grass, then we’re probably best placed to be able to do that,” she says.

But the extra focus comes with a warning. A spate of alleged sexual assaults on Aboriginal children, beginning with a two-year-old in Tennant Creek last month and followed by three more alleged ­attacks, has raised speculation of a link between high STI rates and evidence of child sexual assault.

After the first case, former NT children’s commissioner Howard Bath told this newspaper that STI rates were “a better indicator of background levels of abuse than reporting because so many of those cases don’t get reported to anyone, whereas kids with serious infections do tend to go to a ­doctor”. Others, including Alice Springs town councillor Jacinta Price and Aboriginal businessman Warren Mundine, raised the ­spectre of the need for removing more at-risk indigenous children from dangerous environments.

Children play AFL in Yeundumu. Picture: Jason Edwards
Children play AFL in Yeundumu. Picture: Jason Edwards

However, Sarah Giles, Danila Dilba’s clinical director and a medical practitioner of 20 years’ standing in northern Australia, warns this kind of response only exacerbates the problem. She is one of a range of public health authorities who, like Havnen, say connecting high STI figures to the very real scourge of child sex abuse simply makes no sense. They do not carry correlated data sets, the experts say.

“One of the things that’s really unhelpful about trying to manage STIs at a population level is to link it with child abuse and mandatory reporting, and for people to be fearful of STIs,” Giles says. “The problem is that when they’re conflated and when communities feel that they can’t get help ­because things might be misinterpreted or things might be reported, they’re less likely to present with symptoms. The majority of STIs are in adults and they’re sexually transmitted.”

Havnen says there is evidence of STIs being transmitted non-sexually, including to children, such as through poor hand ­hygiene, although Giles says that is “reasonably rare”. And while NT data shows five children under 12 contracted either chlamydia or gonorrhoea in 2016 (none had syphilis), and there were another five under 12 last year, Havnen points to the fact that over the past decade there has been no increasing trend in under 12s being affected. Where there has been a rise in the NT is in people aged between 13 and 19, with annual gonorrhoea notifications increasing from 64 cases in the 14-15-year-old ­female cohort in 2006 to 94 notifications in 2016.

In the 16-17-year-old female ­cohort the same figures were 96 and 141 and in the 12-13-year-old group it rose from 20 in 2006 to 33 in 2016. Overall, for both boys and girls under 16, annual gonorrhoea notifications rose from 109 in 2006 to 186 in 2016, according to figures provided to the royal ­commission into child detention by NT Health. Havnen describes the rise as “concerning but not, on its own, evidence of increasing ­levels of sexual abuse”.

Ward is more direct. Not all STIs are the result of sexual abuse, he warns, and not all sexual abuse results in an STI. If you’re a health professional trying to deal with an epidemiological wildfire, the distinction matters — the data and its correct interpretations can literally be a matter of life and death.

Indeed, in its own written cav­eats to the material it provided to the royal commission, the department warns that sexual health data is “very much subject to variations in testing” and warns against making “misleading assumptions about trends”. Ward says: “Most STIs notified in remote indigenous communities are ­assumed to be the result of sex ­between consenting adults — that is, 16 to 30-year-olds. Of the under 16s, the majority are 14 and 15-year-olds.” He says a historically high background prevalence of STIs in remote indigenous communities — along with a range of other ­infectious diseases long eradicated elsewhere — is to blame for their ongoing presence. Poor education, health services and hygiene contribute, and where drug and ­alcohol problems exist, sexually risky behaviour is more likely too. The lingering impact of colonisation and arrival of diseases then still common in broader ­society cannot be underestimated.

But Ward claims that an apparently high territory police figure of about 700 cases of “suspected child sexual offences” in the NT over the past five years may be misleading. He says a large number of these are likely to be the result of mandatory reporting, where someone under 16 is known to have a partner with an age gap of more than two years, or someone under 14 is known to be engaging in sexual activity. Ward points out that 15 is the nationwide ­median sexual debut age, an age he suggests is dropping. At any rate, he argues, child sex abuse is unlikely to be the main reason for that high rate of mandatory ­reporting in the NT.

Areyonga is a small Aboriginal community a few hours drive from Alice Springs.
Areyonga is a small Aboriginal community a few hours drive from Alice Springs.

Data matters, and so does how it is used. Chipping away at the perception of child sexual abuse in indigenous communities are the latest figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare showing the rate of removals for that crime is actually higher in non-indigenous Australia.

According to a report this month from the AIHW, removals based on substantiated sex abuse cases in 2016-17 were starkly different for each cohort: 8.3 per cent for indigenous children, from a total of 13,749 removals, and 13.4 per cent for non-indigenous children, from 34,915 removals.

Havnen concedes there is a need for better reporting of child abuse and has called for a confidential helpline that would be free of charge and staffed around the clock by health professionals.

It’s based on a model already in use in Europe that she says deals with millions of calls a year — but it would require a comprehensive education and publicity campaign if it were to gain traction in remote Australia. And that means starting with the adults.

“If you’re going to do sex ­education in schools and you start to move into the area about sexual abuse and violence and so on, it’s really important that adults are ­educated first about what to do with that information,” she says. “Because too often if you just ­educate kids, and they come home and make a disclosure, they end up being told they’re liars.”

These challenges exist against the backdrop of a community already beset by a range of infectious diseases barely present elsewhere in the country, including the STIs that should be so easily treatable. It is, as Havnen is the first to admit, a complex matter.

Cheryl Jones, president of the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases, says the answer is better primary treatment solutions and education, rather than trying to solve the problem after it has ­occurred. “For any of these public health infectious disease problems in ­remote and rural areas, we need to support basic infrastructure at the point of care and work alongside communities to come up with ­solutions,” she says.

Sisters play in the mud after a rare rain at Hoppy's 'town camp' on the outskirts of Alice Springs.
Sisters play in the mud after a rare rain at Hoppy’s ‘town camp’ on the outskirts of Alice Springs.

Pat Turner, chief executive of peak body the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, is adamant about this. “These (STIs) are preventable diseases and we need increased testing, treatment plans and a ­culturally appropriate health ­education campaign that focuses resources on promoting safe-sex messages delivered to at-risk ­communities by our trained Aboriginal workforce,” Turner says.

The Australian Medical ­Association has called for the formation of a national Centre for Disease Control, focusing on global surveillance and most likely based in the north, as being “urgently needed to provide national leadership and to co-ordinate rapid and effective public health responses to manage communicable diseases and outbreaks”.

“The current approach to disease threats, and control of infectious diseases, relies on disjointed state and commonwealth formal structures, informal networks, collaborations, and the goodwill of public health and infectious disease physicians,” the association warned in a submission to the Turnbull government last year.

However, the federal health ­department has rebuffed the CDC argument, telling the association that “our current arrangements are effective” and warning the suggestion could introduce “considerable overlap and duplication with existing functions”.

“I think it (the CDC) might have some merit, if it helps to ­advocate with government about what needs to happen,” Havnen says, “but if these things are going to be targeted at Aboriginal bodies, it needs to be a genuine partnership. It’s got to be informed by the realities on the ground and what we know. That information has to be fed up into the planning process.”

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Prison System: New Ground breaking partnership for ACT Government and Winnunga having an ACCHO deliver health and wellbeing services to prison inmates

“ACT Corrective Services recognises that increasing Aboriginal led services within the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC) a minimum to maximum security prison is essential to maintaining cultural connection for Aboriginal detainees and improving overall wellbeing and safety.”

Speaking at the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) board meeting ACT Minister for Justice Shane Rattenbury announced that Winnunga Aboriginal Health and Community Services (AHCS) will move soon into full service delivery at the AMC

Photo above Minister with some of the new NACCHO Board December 2017 : Pic Oliver Tye

Julie Tongs pictured above with Shane Rattenbury and NACCHO CEO John Singer  

‘Importantly, Winnunga will continue to be a separate independent entity, but will work in partnership with the ACT Government to complement the services already provided by ACT Corrective Services and ACT Health to deliver better outcomes for Indigenous detainees.

It is ground breaking to have an Aboriginal community controlled and managed organisation delivering health and wellbeing services within its own model of care to inmates in prison in this capacity’ Ms Tongs said.

‘Winnunga delivering health and wellbeing services in the AMC and changing the way the system operates is the legacy of Steven Freeman, a young Aboriginal man who tragically died whilst in custody in the AMC in 2016

It is also ground breaking for our sector, so it needs to be given the recognition it deserves’

Julie Tongs, CEO of Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services (Winnunga AHCS) welcomed the announcement by Minister Shane Rattenbury

Winnunga has commenced enhanced support at the AMC focused on female detainees, and will move to full delivery of standalone health, social and emotional wellbeing services in the AMC in 2018.

The Independent Inquiry into the Treatment in Custody of Steven Freeman highlighted the need for improvements in a range of areas including cultural proficiency to more effectively manage the welfare of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander detainees.

The ACT Government is working to develop a safer environment for all detainees, especially Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander detainees.

Minister Rattenbury welcomed the involvement of Winnunga AHCS in the delivery of health services within its culturally appropriate model of care in the AMC.

To achieve this ACT Corrective Services and Justice Health have been working closely with Winnunga AHCS to enhance their presence in the AMC. Winnunga AHCS has begun delivering social and emotional wellbeing services to female detainees who choose to access Winnunga AHCS in the AMC.

Over time, all detainees will have the option to access Winnunga AHCS services.

Winnunga AHCS will over time deliver services to all inmates in the AMC who choose to access this option, however the services will be implemented through a staged process initially focussed on female detainees. This will help inform system changes as we operationalise the model of care within the AMC.

‘In 2018, we will expand our role to deliver GP and social and emotional wellbeing services to all detainees who choose to access Winnunga AHCS in the AMC, Monday to Friday, between the hours of 9am to 5pm’, Ms Tongs noted.

‘Winnunga does not want to be divisive in the AMC, we will be inclusive.

Obviously, there will be some issues particularly around – strong identity and connection to land, language and culture, and how the impact of colonisation and stolen Generations affects unresolved trauma, grief and loss that will be specific to Aboriginal people, however we will work with all inmates’, said Ms Tongs.

Ms Tongs stated, ‘The priority for us is to ensure in time all Aboriginal people are provided with an Aboriginal health check and care plan…the goal is for Winnunga to provide all services we do outside in the community, to prisoners also on the inside and this is a very good starting point’.

Aboriginal Children’s Health #FreetobeKids : Download the @Change_Record National plan of action to transform the #justice system for our kids

“ The time to act is now. This is an historic opportunity for the Federal Government to make a difference for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children,”

Antoinette Braybrook, Co-Chair of Change the Record. See Part 1 below

Change the Record Website

Download the National Plan :

CTR_Free_to_be_Kids_National_Plan_of_Action_2017_web

Projected out-of-home care population growth suggests the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in care will more than triple by 2036.”

The Family Matters Report report – due to be launched at Parliament House on 29 November – reveals a shocking trend in the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, who are now nearly 10 times as likely to be removed from their family as non-Indigenous children – a disparity which continues to grow. See Part 3 Below 

Read over 270 NACCHO Articles about Aboriginal Children

Part 1 Change the Record National Plan

This week the Change the Record Coalition launched an eight-point plan –Free to be Kids – National Plan of Action – to transform the youth justice system and prevent abuse of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children in prisons.

“The Royal Commission into Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory demonstrated shocking abuse of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in prisons, and we know that similar abuses are happening right around the country,” said Cheryl Axleby, Co-Chair of Change the Record.

Art 2

7.00 am Monday morning Canberra press conference with the Change the Record team in the rain

Change the Record has said the Federal Government must:

  1. Support children, families and communities to stay strong and together
  2. Raise the age of criminal responsibility to 14
  3. Get children who are not sentenced out of prison
  4. Adequately fund Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled legal and other support services
  5. End abusive practices in prisons
  6. Set targets to end the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in prison
  7. Improve collection and use of data
  8. Work through COAG to reform State and Territory laws that breach children’s rights

Download Free to be Kids – National Plan of Action [PDF]

 Part 2 Children suffer every day that PM Turnbull delays on Federal commitment to lead youth justice change says Amnesty International

 Amnesty International, as part of the Indigenous-led Change The Record coalition, released a National Plan of Action for Prime Minister Turnbull to end the abuse and overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in Australian prisons.

The eight-point plan includes strategies for children and families to be supported to stay together; raising the age of criminal responsibility to 14; setting national justice targets; and investing in Indigenous-led prevention and support programs.

The National Plan of Action release date marks 10 days since the Turnbull Government pledged national commitment on youth justice.

The plan was launched in response to the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory report released on 17 November.

“The most shocking thing about the Royal Commission findings are that the abuses are happening in every state and territory,” said Claire Mallinson, National Director, Amnesty International Australia.

“Every day the Prime Minister delays taking action, children are self-harming, or being held in solitary confinement. They are being denied basic needs, being restrained or handled inappropriately, being verbally or physically abused in Australian child prisons.”

“What’s more, Indigenous children are 25 times more likely to be locked up than non-Indigenous children.”

Barely a week after the Royal Commission report, the NT Government has announced it will send the Territory Response Group, from the counter-terrorism taskforce, into Darwin and Alice Springs. The police will be equipped with military-grade assault weapons to patrol children at night over December.

The decision flies in the face of the NT Royal Commission report, which recommended a shift away from tough, brutal responses to a focus on prevention, diversion and supporting families. It shows, yet again, that we need Federal leadership to set a standard across the states and territories,” said Claire Mallinson.

Amnesty International’s recent ReachTEL poll found two out of three Australians believe the Turnbull Government should lead national action to end the injustice of too many Indigenous kids in prison.

“We welcome the Turnbull Government’s acknowledgement that the Royal Commission findings have national implications, and the Government’s commitment to lead national change of the youth justice system,” said Claire Mallinson.

A number of recommendations in the Royal Commission report would make a significant difference if implemented nationally. These include those about diversion; supporting families; raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility; bail support services and accommodation; and ending abusive practices in prison, like banning spithoods, restraint chairs and teargas.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion said the Government would develop a Royal Commission response, “not only here in the Northern Territory, but across every jurisdiction in Australia.

Every other jurisdiction will be looking to the Northern Territory and the Commonwealth for leadership about change throughout our jurisdictions, and I know that [Chief Minister Michael Gunner] and I are committed to working together to provide that leadership.”

“With today’s plan, Prime Minister Turnbull can turn those words into solid policies,” said Claire Mallinson.

“He must commit to work in partnership with Indigenous communities to nationally reform the youth injustice system. This is the only way to achieve real progress, not only for kids suffering in prison now, but for the next generation of Indigenous children

Part 3: WITHOUT URGENT ACTION THE NUMBER OF ABORIGINAL AND  TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER CHILDREN REMOVED FROM FAMILY WILL TRIPLE IN NEXT 20 YEARS

The rate at which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are removed from their families is an escalating national crisis.

Without immediate action from all levels of government further generations of children will be lost to their families, cultures and communities, according to a new report from the Family Matters campaign.

The report – due to be launched at Parliament House on 29 November – reveals a shocking trend in the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, who are now nearly 10 times as likely to be removed from their family as non-Indigenous children – a disparity which continues to grow.

“If we continue on this path, carved out by the flawed approaches of consecutive governments, the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care will more than triple in the next 20 years,” Family Matters Co-Chair Natalie Lewis said.

“Twenty years ago, the Bringing them Home report brought public and political awareness to the destructive impact of the Stolen Generations on communities, families and children – a historical pain that has caused trauma with lasting impacts. We cannot allow the history of trauma to devastate yet another generation of our children.

“In the 20 years since Bringing them Home, and nearly 10 years since the national apology, the numbers of Aboriginal children in out-of-home care have continued to escalate.”

The Family Matters Report shows that only 17 per cent of the child protection budget is spent on services aimed at preventing issues for families before they develop, while the bulk of spending is invested in reacting to problems when they arise.

“The Family Matters Report clearly shows we have a system that invests in failure and not success,” Ms Lewis said.

“Only one in every five dollars spent on child protection is invested in family supports.

Supportive and preventative services – designed to build the capacity of families to care for children and allow children to thrive – are crucial to addressing the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care.”

The Family Matters Report provides a comprehensive analysis of child protections systems in every state and territory, judged against a series of building blocks to ensuring child safety and wellbeing.

“The disproportionate representation of our children, and the failure to adequately provide for their wellbeing and ensure fulfilment of their rights, are characteristics common to all jurisdictions,” Ms Lewis said.

“Those of us working for our communities are striving to address these fundamental system failures, but what we really need is governments to resource our vision for a better future for our children.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been forthcoming with solutions to these issues for many, many years. We need to work together now to prevent another generation of children growing up separated from their family, culture and connection to country.”

Notes :

Data from the Family Matters Report 2017 shows:

• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are 9.8 times more likely to be living in out-of-home care than non-Indigenous children.

• Projected out-of-home care population growth suggests the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in care will more than triple by 2036.

• From 2010 to 2018, the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in child death statistics has grown from a rate ratio of 1.84 to 2.23.

• Only 67 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in Australia are placed with family, kin, or other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carers.

Only 2 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children commenced an intensive family support service in 2015-16, a rate well below their rate of contact with child protection services.

• Only 17 per cent of overall child protection funding is invested in support services for children and their families.

• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are significantly less likely to access antenatal care during the first trimester of pregnancy.

CT REC

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #WhiteRibbonDay : @HealingOurWay @WhiteRibbonAust Report calls for overhaul of #violenceprevention programs for #Indigenous men and boys

 

 

Awr

 Australia needs to overhaul violence prevention programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and boys .

  A discussion paper released today by White Ribbon and the Healing Foundation said, “inappropriate and ill-targeted strategies” are not working to change the behaviour of violent Indigenous men.

Co-author Dr Mark Wenitong, a respected Aboriginal GP and men’s health expert from North Queensland, said generational trauma was not being addressed.”

Report

Download the Report Here

HF_Violence_Prevention_Framework_Report_Oct2017_V9_WEB 

“I think if you look at the current discourse in Australia it’s just heavier prison sentences and better policing,” he said.

“We can build lots more women’s shelters, but that’s not the point, we want it to stop.

Dr Wenitong, who works with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men in prison, said programs in jails did not appear to be effective.

“The prison offender programs are mostly mainstream programs … I talk to men in prison who go ‘that anger management program doesn’t mean anything when I go back to my community’,” he said.

The report said an urgent priority was “elevating the voice of men in family violence prevention”.

“Men do need to lead this, because it’s men who are the main perpetrators of violence,” Healing Foundation chief executive Richard Weston said.

The paper recommend that Indigenous men and women have a greater say over new behaviour-change programs — including consulting with reformed perpetrators of domestic violence.

“We have high levels of violence, we have high levels of substance abuse, we have a whole range of challenging social issues in our community,” Mr Weston said.

“Mainstream programs are failing us because we’re not involved in the design.”

Dr Wenitong said Indigenous mothers and children were often left in unsafe situations.

“When there’s violence in a community — in a household — why do we take the women and children out of the house for their safety, why aren’t we taking the men out?”

The paper said there had been “little opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to influence the policies and programs designed to improve safety for them and their children”.

“Arguably, the voice and perspective of men is absent, and sometimes excluded in this domain,” Dr Wenitong said.

Aside from family breakdown, alcohol and drug abuse was the most significant factor associated with family violence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, the report said.

An effective framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and boys to prevent and reduce family violence needs to include the following critical elements:

  • violence should be understood within a historical context, recognising the effects of foundational and structural violence, and the wide ranging continued impacts on the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and boys
  • the many strong Aboriginal and Torres Islander men must be supported to lead work with men and boys, and reconnect men to their core cultural practices and protocols as a central factor to creating change
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women should be involved in the design and development, and evaluation of the effectiveness of the framework
  • prevention strategies must be positioned within broader community strategies that address intergenerational trauma through individual, family and community healing approaches – drawing from both local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and western therapeutic practice
  • all work should be developed in partnership with communities through a genuine co-design process that respects and supports local cultural governance and self-determination, and empowers communities to drive change
  • a focus on collective wellbeing should be supported through referral pathways to trauma-informed holistic health and wellbeing services. Crucially, any strategy must be adequately resourced; implemented in a safe

A taskforce led by the Victorian Aboriginal Children’s Commissioner in 2016 found that in nine-out-of-ten cases, family violence had been present in the home when an Indigenous child was removed.

Mr Weston said the discussion paper also refuted claims by some Aboriginal men that violence against women and children had “a cultural basis”.