NACCHO Invites all health practitioners and staff to a webinar : Working collaboratively to support the social and emotional well-being of Aboriginal youth in crisis

atsi

NACCHO invites all health practitioners and staff to the webinar: An all-Indigenous panel will explore youth suicide in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. The webinar is organised and produced by the Mental Health Professionals Network and will provide participants with the opportunity to identify:

  • Key principles in the early identification of youth experiencing psychological distress.
  • Appropriate referral pathways to prevent crises and provide early intervention.
  • Challenges, tips and strategies to implement a collaborative response to supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth in crisis.

Join hundreds of doctors, nurses and mental health professionals around the nation for an interdisciplinary panel discussion. The panellists with a range of professional experience are:

  • Dr Louis Peachey (Qld Rural Generalist)
  • Dr Marshall Watson (SA Psychiatrist)
  • Dr Jeff Nelson (Qld Psychologist)
  • Facilitator: Dr Mary Emeleus (Qld GP and Psychotherapist)

Read more about the panellists.

Working collaboratively to support the social and emotional well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth in crisis.

Date:  Thursday 23rd February, 2017

Time: 7.15 – 8.30pm AEDT

REGISTER

No need to travel to benefit from this free PD opportunity. Simply register and log in anywhere you have a computer or tablet with high speed internet connection. CPD points awarded.

Learn more about the learning outcomes, other resources and register now.

For further information, contact MHPN on 1800 209 031 or email webinars@mhpn.org.au.

The Mental Health Professionals’ Network is a government-funded initiative that improves interdisciplinary collaborative mental health care practice in the primary health sector.  MHPN promotes interdisciplinary practice through two national platforms, local interdisciplinary networks and online professional development webinars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : A call to acknowledge the harmful history of nursing for Aboriginal people

nurses

 ” While we ourselves did not work there, the societal beliefs interwoven with the professional theories practised at that time are a legacy we have inherited. Those attitudes and practices remain present within our professional space.

Have we done sufficient work to decolonise ourselves?

Decolonising is a conscious practice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses. It involves recognising the impact of the beliefs and practices of the coloniser on ourselves at a personal and professional level, then disavowing ourselves from them.

We talk about this in CATSINaM with our Members. We invite our non-Indigenous colleagues to engage in this self-reflective conversation through many aspects of our work.

janine-mohamed-indigenous-x-profile-picture

Janine Mohamed (right), CEO of the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM), argues we should.

Is it time for the nursing and midwifery professions to reflect on our historical involvement in the subjugation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and consider whether we owe a statement of regret for our failures as part of the wider healthcare system to respond to the needs of Aboriginal Australians?

Do formal apologies mean anything?

We welcome your input on this fundamental issue for Australians – and especially input from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives.

Editorial Nurse Uncut Conversations

In September 2016, the Australian Psychological Society issued a formal apology to Indigenous Australians for their past failure as a profession to respond to the needs of Aboriginal patients.

In the past, the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association and the ANMF more broadly have issued statements of apology for our professions’ involvement in the practices associated with the forced adoption of babies from the 1950s to 1980s.

In doing so we recognised that while those nurses and midwives were working under direction, it was often they who took the babies away from mothers who had been forced, pressured and coerced into relinquishing their children and we apologised for and acknowledged the pain these mothers, fathers and children had experienced in their lives as a result.

Following the recent commendable move by the Australian Psychological Society, is it now time for the nursing and midwifery professions to reflect on our historical involvement as healthcare providers in the subjugation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and consider whether we owe a similar statement of regret for our failures as part of the wider healthcare system to respond to the needs of Aboriginal Australians?

But firstly, do such apologies mean anything?

Professor Alan Rosen AO (a non-indigenous psychiatrist) makes a cogent argument for an apology by the Australian mental health professions to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples:

The recent apology by the Australian Psychological Society to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is of profound national and international significance.

The APS is believed to be the first mental health professional representative body in the world to endorse and adopt such a specific apology to indigenous peoples for what was done to them by the profession as part of, or in the name of, mental health/psychological assessment, treatment and care.

The APS Board also substantially adopted the recommendation of its Indigenous Psychologists’ Advisory Group (IPAG), whose Indigenous and non-Indigenous members crafted this apology together. This sets a fine precedent.

As some other Australian mental health professional bodies are still considering whether to make such an apology, it is to be hoped that the APS has set a new trend. The APS has provided a robust example of how to do it well and in a way that it is more likely to be considered to be sincere and acceptable by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Historically, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have suffered much more incarceration, inappropriate diagnoses and treatments and more control than care in the hands of mental health professionals, facilities and institutions.

This is also true for all First Nations peoples, globally.

Professor Rosen argues that such apologies demonstrate concern for possible historical wrongs, either deliberate or unwitting, by professionals and institutions and the enduring mental health effects of colonialism. The Croakey.org article goes on to describe the purposes and goals of an apology, why they are worth doing and proposes a template.

So, just as we have recognised and apologised for the role our professions played in forced adoptions, is it now time to examine and take responsibility for our professions’ historical contribution to undermining Indigenous Australians’ social and emotional health and wellbeing?

Janine Mohamed (right), CEO of the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM), argues we should.

Between 1908 and 1919, hundreds of Aboriginal patients were incarcerated in the Lock Hospitals off the coast of Carnarvon, with more than 150 people dying there. The West Australian government established the hospitals for the treatment of Aboriginal people with sexually transmitted infections, but there remains considerable doubt as to the accuracy of such diagnoses – many of which were made by police officers.

The Fantome Island Lock Hospital operated in Queensland from 1928-45 under similar arrangements, detaining Aboriginal people with suspected sexually transmitted infections. There was also a lazaret on Fantome Island (1939-73) for segregated treatment of Aboriginal people with Hansen’s disease.

Aboriginal people taken to the hospitals were often forcibly removed from their families and communities and transported in traumatic conditions, in chains and under police guard. There is also evidence of medical experimentation and abuse.
The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association has embarked on the process of developing a Reconciliation Action Plan. As a first step, over coming months we will be working on developing a more thorough understanding of how historical practices have affected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in our care.

We welcome feedback, especially from our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander colleagues.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #NTRC : Appalling treatment of youth highlighted at Royal Commission Inquiry

 dylan

 ” I was regularly stripsearched from the age of 11 and on one occasion was left in a cell overnight with no mattress, sheets or clothes. They turned the aircon on full blast, I was freezing all night … I was actually crying asking for a blanket.

I was left handcuffed in the back of a stifling hot van during a 1400 kilometre prison transfer from Alice Springs to Darwin. On the trip, I was denied bathroom stops “

Dylan Voller now aged 19 giving evidence at the NT Royal Commission into Youth Detention about his 8 years in out of detention centres . See full evidence article 2 below

Aboriginal Peak Organisations Northern Territory ( APO NT ) congratulates the Commonwealth and NT Government on calling the Royal Commission Inquiry into Youth Detention and Child Protection.

APO NT has for many years raised with the government the shocking treatment of youth in detention and the long term effects it has on youth

Today Dylan Voller gave evidence at the Royal Commission hearing and broke his silence about his treatment by authorities in Northern Territory youth detention centres.

Finally youth feel confident to tell their stories to Australia knowing they have strong support behind them.

Today’s evidence is moving, this is Dylan’s personal story which shows how troubled his life was and how fragile he is. We congratulate Dylan for having the courage to tell his story as it is good for the public to understand how difficult life is for many youth who have been in and are currently in youth detention

What we witnessed today is a story of how the juvenile justice system in the Northern Territory denied young people in its care the opportunity to enjoy even the most basic aspects of a normal life.

APO NT supports the Royal Commission inquiry to uncover where the systems have failed and make recommendations on how to improve laws, policies and practices in the Northern Territory to provide a safer future for our children. ”

John Paterson CEO AMSANT (NACCHO Affiliate ) and Spokesperson for APO NT

The Aboriginal Peak Organisations Northern Territory—APO NT—is an alliance comprising the Central Land Council (CLC), Northern Land Council (NLC), North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA), Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service (CAALAS) and the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the NT (AMSANT).

The alliance was created to provide a more effective response to key issues of joint interest and concern affecting Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory, including providing practical policy solutions to government.

 Support Services thru NACCHO Members and Relationship Australia

Discussing experiences of the child protection system or time spent in youth detention can be difficult. This is especially so for people who experienced abuse and are telling their story for the first time.

If you need support you can call 1800 500 853 – a free helpline answered locally

  • This is a free service and is available 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday
  • Support is available to children, young people, their families and others impacted by the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory
  • Experienced and qualified staff can refer you to a range of services including counsellors, therapeutic support, and health professionals.

Please note that calls made from a mobile phone may incur additional costs.

You can also contact the following services directly:

Danila Dilba Health Service

Services include:

  • face to face and telephone counselling,
  • support,
  • mental health support (including suicide prevention),
  • therapeutic group services, outreach, and referrals.
Phone
(08) 8942 5400 (Darwin, Palmerston and Malak)Website
Danila Dilba Health Service
Relationships Australia NT

Services include:

  • culturally appropriate support and information on how to engage with the Royal Commission and what to expect from the enquiry process,
  • face to face and telephone counselling by qualified counsellors,
  • support through legal processes,
  • referrals to legal and advocacy services,
  • pre and post counselling support to those directly affected who are giving evidence as well as their families,
  • mentoring by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural advisors, and healing camps on Country.
Phone
(08) 8923 4999 (Darwin and Katherine office with outreach to other areas) (08) 8950 4100 (Alice Springs office with outreach to other areas)Website
Relationships Australia Northern Territory
The Central Australian Aboriginal Congress

Services include:

  • peer support including social, emotional, cultural, social and therapeutic support with intensive case management to young people at risk
  • support
  • outreach
  • trauma-informed counselling
  • medical support care coordination, and referrals.
Phone
(08) 8959 4750 (Alice Springs and surrounding areas)Website
Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, Alice Springs, NT

There are a number of other services available which can provide support wherever you are in the Northern Territory.

If you need support you can call the following services:

Dylan Voller gives evidence at Royal Commission

DYLAN Voller has broken his silence about his treatment by authorities in Northern Territory youth detention centres in shocking admissions at the Royal Commission.

As reported by Megan Pain News Ltd

Mr Voller’s treatment at Darwin’s Don Dale Youth Detention Centre sparked the Northern Territory child detention royal commission after footage of him shackled to a chair in a spit hood and a group of detainees being tear-gassed appeared on ABC’s Four Corners.

Mr Voller, 19, this afternoon told the commission that conditions in detention, which he first entered aged 11, were often miserable. He said detainees were regularly denied access to food, water and toilets as punishment for bad behaviour.

“There was one instance where I was in an isolation placement at Alice Springs detention centre and I was busting to go to the toilet … I had been asking for at least four or five hours,” Mr Voller said.

“They’d just been saying ‘no’.

“I ended up having to defecate into a pillow case because they wouldn’t let me out to go to the toilet.

“Eventually when I got let out the next morning, I was able to chuck that pillow case out.”

The key witness said on other occasions he was forced “to urinate out the door, out the back window, even in just normal rooms because they haven’t been able to come down”.

He said other detainees urinated out “the back window or into water bottles and chucking them out, like drink bottles and chucking them out the next day”.

Mr Voller said when guards allowed him to visit the bathroom they would only give him “five tiny little squares of toilet paper”.

“I’d go to the toilet, they’d only rip off, like, five tiny little squares of toilet paper and say: ‘That’s all you’re getting … make it last’,” Mr Voller said.

“They wouldn’t give us enough toilet paper.

“They done (sic) that quite a bit.”

According to the teen, detainees in Don Dale had to share underwear if they didn’t have enough money to buy their own. He described a prison economy where detainees could earn money through good behaviour and use it to buy items including underwear, deodorant, and CDs.

“The max you could earn was $4.50 a day and they’d take $1.50 off us every day for rent,” Mr Voller said.

“If you don’t buy your own underwear, the only other underwear you have the choice of wearing is the underwear everyone else wears.

“It gets washed, you pick out another pair, it gets washed and it goes through all of the males in Don Dale.”

The court heard Mr Voller was regularly stripsearched from the age of 11 and on one occasion was left in a cell overnight with no mattress, sheets or clothes. “They turned the aircon on full blast, I was freezing all night … I was actually crying asking for a blanket,” he said.

Mr Voller said he was left handcuffed in the back of a stifling hot van during a 1400 kilometre prison transfer from Alice Springs to Darwin. On the trip, he was denied bathroom stops and forced to defecate in his shirt.

“I threatened self-harm … choking myself with seat belts,” Mr Voller said.

He said the guards smoked heavily the whole way which made him vomit.

“I was vomiting, vomiting, I couldn’t get up, I was laying down in the chair and I was trying to break the chair so I could lay down flat,” he said.

Although poised throughout his testimony, Mr Voller’s eyes welled up on the stand, when senior counsel assisting Peter Callaghan SC moved his line of questioning to the topic of family.

“I had one case worker I remember that was saying my family didn’t really care about me and stuff like that,” Mr Voller said through tears.

“For a long time I started believing it, I guess.”

Mr Voller was this morning taken from the Darwin Correctional Centre to the Darwin Supreme Court to speak at the inquiry, which will also hear from Antoinette Carroll, a youth justice advocate who worked with Mr Voller for seven years.

This image from Four Corners screened on ABC shows Dylan Voller in the spit hood.

This image from Four Corners screened on ABC shows Dylan Voller in the spit hood.Source:ABC

The Royal Commission comes after footage screened in July showed Mr Voller and five other youths being tear-gassed and spit hooded at the Don Dale centre. Vision of Mr Voller strapped to a chair wearing a hood while in the notorious detention centre shocked many when they were screened by ABC’s Four Corners.

The court was closed but Mr Voller’s evidence was streamed online after the NT government lost a bid to delay further witnesses. He will not be cross-examined despite making allegations against 31 guards.

Other youths from Don Dale are expected to also give evidence.

According to his lawyer Peter O’Brien, Mr Voller has been eager to voice his version of events since the inquiry was announced on July 28.

Mr Voller was jailed at Holtze prison, Darwin in 2014 for a violent drug-fuelled binge.

“I’m definitely not proud of it, and it’s just humiliating and a lot of mistakes,” he said.

Both Mr O’Brien and Mr Voller’s mother, Joanne, said Mr Voller was concerned about giving evidence while still in custody and feared repercussions from prison guards.

“I have never seen my son so scared in all of his life,” Ms Voller said after visiting her son on Tuesday.

Mr Voller’s family has repeatedly called for his release from prison so he can speak freely before the commission.

He has also previously requested a transfer to Alice Springs prison.

But his mother said prison guards in Darwin have told him that going to Alice Springs would “increase his chances of getting bashed” because of its lack of CCTV cameras.

Mr Voller today told the court he finished school at age 10 and spent the following seven years in and out of care and youth detention.

He said it was during his first year in care he was first introduced to smoking marijuana and encouraged to commit crimes by older boys.

He described small, institutional rooms with painted-over windows.

“It was disgusting: cockroaches, dust, you felt trapped, you couldn’t really talk to anyone else,” Mr Voller said.

“The only bit of the outside world you got was when you were driving to court or yelling out at the top of your lungs to young people next door at the school.”

— With AAP

megan.palin@news.com.au

NACCHO Aboriginal Health report alert : 2016 #AHRC Social Justice / Close the Gap report released

social-justice

   “ The Australian Government follow through on the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023 by:

  • providing new, quarantined funding for each of the activities outlined in that plan; and
  • continuing to work with the National Health Leadership Forum to oversee the progress of the plan. “

  Recommendation 7 see all 28 recommendations below

“Indigenous people are self-determining and resilient. We can provide clear input on policy, based on evidence and experience. The question is, when will governments listen?

“Governments and their policymakers must listen to, value and implement the practical solutions proposed by Indigenous Australians,”

Deputy Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Robynne Quiggin

The Social Justice and Native Title Report 2016, tabled today 3 December  in Federal Parliament, includes an agenda for reform based on solutions proposed by Indigenous Australians.

DOWNLOAD the Social Justice report here : ahrc_sjntr_2016

Or Word file copy here

Close the Gap

This year also marks 10 years since the beginning of the Close the Gap Campaign on 17 March 2006. The response of the Australian Government to the campaign has led to a broader community understanding of the challenges for addressing Indigenous health inequality, and has led governments to make substantial improvements to their policies and programs nationwide.

This has included through the adoption of benchmarks and targets over a 25 year period, and significant reforms to inter-governmental funding arrangements to meet these. Solid progress has been made over the last decade, including in the areas of infant and child health, smoking rates and increased access to medicines.10

There is still a long way to go to achieve health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples within a generation, but it is important to acknowledge that sustained change is a long term goal. It will require consistent and concerted efforts to maintain funding and policy directions and support direct initiatives such as community controlled medical services.

DOWNLOAD the previous released Close the Gap Report referred to here

progress_priorities_report_ctg_2016_0

Australian Human Rights Commission President, Gillian Triggs, said governments must genuinely engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to address issues such as property rights, justice targets and escalating incarceration rates.

Professor Triggs, who is acting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, said significant numbers of Indigenous Australians are passing away from violence, illness or a combination of both while detained by the state.

“This rate of incarceration and death, 25 years after the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, is intolerable,” Professor Triggs said.

Deputy Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Robynne Quiggin, said reforms proposed by Indigenous Australians during the year include:

  • Delivering on measures set out in the Redfern Statement
  • Implementing reforms developed by the Indigenous Property Rights Project
  • Allowing income programs to be opt-in

Ms Quiggin said these initiatives, together with continuing consultations on constitutional recognition, would enable structural change and deliver a system which values Indigenous knowledge and the human rights of Indigenous peoples.

The Social Justice and Native Title Report 2016 is the seventh and final report covering the term of the previous Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Mick Gooda.

Commissioner Gooda resigned in August 2016 to join the Royal Commission into the Child Protection and Youth Detention Systems of the Northern Territory.

Text Box 1.2: Call for Action by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak organisations[i]
  Commit to resource Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led solutions, by:

Restoring, over the forward estimates, the $534 million cut from the Indigenous Affairs portfolio in the 2014 Budget to invest in priority areas outlined in this statement; and

Reforming the Indigenous Advancement Strategy and other Federal funding programs with greater emphasis on service/need mapping (through better engagement) and local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations as preferred providers.

Commit to better engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through their representative national peaks, by:

Funding the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples (Congress) and all relevant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak organisations and forums; and

Convening regular high level ministerial and departmental meetings and forums with the Congress and the relevant peak organisations and forums.

Recommit to Closing the Gap in this generation, by and in partnership with COAG and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people:

Setting targets and developing evidence-based, prevention and early intervention oriented national strategies which will drive activity and outcomes addressing:

  • family violence (with a focus on women and children);
  •  incarceration and access to justice;
  •  child safety and wellbeing, and the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care; and
  •  increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander access to disability services;

Secure national funding agreements between the Commonwealth and States and Territories (like the former National Partnership Agreements), which emphasise accountability to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and drive the implementation of national strategies.

Commit to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders to establish a Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs in the future, that:

  •  Is managed and run by senior Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander public servants;
  •  Brings together the policy and service delivery components of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs and ensures a central department of expertise;
  •  Strengthens the engagement for governments and the broader public service with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the management of their own services.

Commit to addressing the unfinished business of reconciliation, by:

Addressing and implementing the recommendations of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, which includes an agreement making framework (treaty) and constitutional reform in consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities.

[i] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Organisations Unite, ‘The Redfern Statement’ (Group statement, 9 June 2016) 5, 15-17 <http://nationalcongress.com.au/the-redfern-statement/>.

Recommendations

Recommendation 1: The Australian Government follow up the initial meetings with Indigenous leadership with regular consultations which materially inform policy and legislation impacting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Recommendation 2: The Australian Government pursue the key priorities for change and recommendations outlined in the Redfern Statement, utilising the Council of Australian Governments and other processes to engage states and territories.

Recommendation 3: The Australian Government establish and promote a monitoring and reporting framework to measure government progress in relation to Indigenous child welfare.

Recommendation 4: The Australian Government, as a matter of urgency, support the development of justice targets, Justice Reinvestment initiatives and other evidence based state and territory legislative, administrative and service delivery initiatives that will contribute to substantial reductions in Indigenous incarceration rates.

Recommendation 5: The Australian Government prioritise early intervention and prevention initiatives that provide comprehensive support and protection from violence to vulnerable Indigenous populations including women, children and the elderly.

Recommendation 6: The Australian Government ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT).

Recommendation 7: The Australian Government follow through on the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023 by:

  • providing new, quarantined funding for each of the activities outlined in that plan; and
  • continuing to work with the National Health Leadership Forum to oversee the progress of the plan.

Recommendation 8: The Australian Government work with the Western Australian Government to ensure that the principles of free, prior and informed consent underpin the consultation with Aboriginal peoples regarding any proposed land tenure changes as a part of its Regional Services Reform policy.

Recommendation 9: The Australian Government support the outcomes of the national consultations conducted by the Referendum Council.

Recommendation 10: The Australian Government include the United Nations on the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in the definition of human rights in the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 (Cth) and review existing legislation, policies and programmes for conformity with the UNDRIP.

Recommendation 11: The Australian Government encourage state and territory governments to consult with Indigenous peoples about the need to establish or re-establish stolen wages reparations schemes.

Recommendation 12: The Australian Government should make the Cashless Debit Card and the Community Development Program in remote communities’ voluntary, opt-in schemes (See Social Justice Native Title Report 2015, Recommendation 5).

Recommendation 13: The Australian Government conduct independent evaluations of the Cashless Debit Card Trials and Community Development Program which involve participation and feedback from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples directly affected and make these evaluations publically available.

Recommendation 14: The Australian Government work with the states, territories and relevant stakeholders including the National Native Title Tribunal, to ensure the integration of key information about the Indigenous Estate on state and territory land title information systems.

Recommendation 15: The Australian Government support Indigenous land holders to more comprehensively map the extent of their Indigenous Estate.

Recommendation 16: The Australian Government support the Indigenous Strategy Group’s endorsed model(s) for long-term leasing.

Recommendation 17: The Australian Government support the review of state and territory land use planning regimes in consultation with Indigenous organisations to ensure the Traditional Owners of the Indigenous Estate can exercise the right to free, prior and informed consent regarding land use planning decisions.

Recommendation 18: The Australian Government:

  • recognise the key roles that native title Prescribed Bodies Corporate (PBCs), Native Title Representative Bodies and Service Providers (NTRB/SPs), the National Native Title Council and locally based, Indigenous-led specialist cultural and economic development organisations play in driving and supporting economic development on the Indigenous Estate; and
  • ensure these Indigenous-led organisations are properly funded and supported to carry out this important work, in addition to any statutory duties they may have.

Recommendation 19: The Australian Government support locally based research and scoping initiatives to identify Indigenous-led economic development opportunities suited to the unique land holdings and strengths of Traditional Owner groups, including opportunities to develop the cultural economy, partner with local operations and ‘tap in’ to industry initiatives in the broader region.

Recommendation 20: The Australian Government fund effective, applied training in business and other skills to build the capacity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander directors and managers.

Recommendation 21: The Australian Government support the analysis of risks for both Indigenous land holders and financial institutions with the objective of developing a new risk framework to underpin decision making, investment and business practices regarding the Indigenous Estate in partnership with Indigenous people and financial institutions.

Recommendation 22: The Australian Government support legislative and policy measures to allow Prescribed Bodies Corporate (PBCs) to freely choose the best incorporation method for their purposes and support the regulators to assist PBCs in governance and incorporation matters.

Recommendation 23: The Australian Government continue to support and resource locally designed employment programs including ranger and other culturally based land management programs beyond the current 2020 commitment.

Recommendation 24: The Australian Government support the development of tailored governance arrangements and other tools to support effective benefit sharing and wealth management strategies.

Recommendation 25: The Australian Government work with the states and territories to avoid limiting recognition of native title rights to take resources in consent determinations.

Recommendation 26: The Australian Government prioritise funding Native Title Representative Bodies and Native Title Service Providers (NTRB/SPs) to pursue native title compensation claims on behalf of their clients through litigation or agreement making.

Recommendation 27: The Australian Government continue to support and resource the Australian Human Rights Commission to facilitate the Indigenous Property Rights Project with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, government and other stakeholders, in order for the agenda developed by the Indigenous Strategy Group to be further advanced and achieved.

Recommendation 28: The Australian Government, in cooperation with representative bodies, use the UNDRIP to develop subject specific indicators and work with the Australian Human Rights Commission to monitor the implementation of UPR recommendations relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #FASD : Record Indigenous incarceration #justjustice rates could be avoided with early clinical assessment: experts

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 “Australia’s prison population recently reached a record 33,791 with 27 per cent of those identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders

Leading experts in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) believe Australia’s record rates of Indigenous incarceration could be dramatically reduced if children were clinically assessed when their troubled behaviour first emerged in the classroom or at home.

In one form or another, Federal, State and Territory Governments have been inquiring into Indigenous prison rates since the 1987 leaving behind a long list of mostly-ignored recommendations “

As reported by Russell Skelton ABC

fasd

NACCHO partnered with the Menzies School of Health Research and the Telethon Kids Institute (TKI) to develop and implement health promotion resources and interventions to prevent and reduce the impacts of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and young children.

NACCHO Report 1 of 4 :Prevent and reduce the impacts of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)

Key points:

  • Experts say Indigenous incarceration rates could be reduced with early behavioural assessment
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) affects many of those incarcerated
  • People with FASD are often unable to instruct a lawyer, understand court procedures and even the decisions handed down when convicted

The facts about FASD

  • FASD covers a range of conditions that can occur in children whose mothers drink during pregnancy
  • Conditions vary from mild to severe
  • The effects can include learning difficulties, behavourial problems, growth defects and facial abnormalities
  • The Australian Drug Foundation believes the condition is “significantly under-reported” in Australia
  • National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines say not drinking at all all during pregnancy is the safest option

A major issue in recent months:

  • Last month the Northern Territory’s adult prison population hit an alarming 15-year high. According to Corrections Commissioner Mark Payne 958 people are being held — almost half aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. He expects half will reoffend within two years of being released.
  • A report by Amnesty International Australia found, and ABC Fact Check confirmed, that incarceration rates for Indigenous children were 24 times higher than they were for non-Indigenous children.In WA the rate is 76 per 10,000, in the US, where rates of black incarceration are regarded as the highest in the western world, it is 52.
  • Attorney-General George Brandis and the Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion announced the Federal Government have commissioned the Australian Law Reform Commission to investigate factors behind the over representation of Indigenous Australians in prison and to recommend reforms to “ameliorate the national tragedy”.
  • The appointment of a Royal Commission to investigate brutal treatment and years of detainee abuse at Darwin’s Don Dale Youth detention facility.The move followed detailed allegations of mistreatment by the ABC’s Four Corner program.

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The #JustJustice book is was launched  at Gleebooks in Sydney yesterday by Professor Tom Calma AO, and NACCHO readers are invited to download the 242-page e-version

The Federal Government must make good on its promise to listen to, and work with, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including engaging with the solutions put forward in the forthcoming #JustJustice essay collection.

The book includes more than 90 articles on solutions to protect the rights of Australia’s First Peoples.

The experts said parents, teachers and health workers were often well aware of unacceptable behaviour in young people — both Indigenous and non-Indigenous — long before they appeared before the courts.

Around 70 per cent of young people in the juvenile justice system are Aboriginal, and research shows rates of the disorder amongst Aboriginal communities are significantly higher than non-Aboriginal communities.

Elizabeth Elliot, professor of Paediatrics and Child Health a Sydney University, said: “What we need is screening tool so teachers and health workers can assess a child’s executive functions and red flag cognitive impairments early on before they encounter the justice system.”

Paediatrician and clinical research fellow at Perth’s Telethon Kids Institute Dr Raewyn Mutch agreed, saying there was a growing need to identify serious behavioural issues associated with FASD and other developmental disorders such as autism so affected children can be better managed.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, known as FASD, occurs in the children whose mothers consumed alcohol during pregnancy.

Symptoms include lifelong physical, mental, behavioural and learning difficulties. It can cause severe intellectual impairment, learning and memory disorders, high-risk and violent behaviour.

Professor Elliott said reform in Australia had been “glacial” compared with Canada and the United States, as authorities have been slow to acknowledge the extent of the problem.

“In Canada it is estimated that 60 per cent of kids in the juvenile justice system are FASD, it is a huge number,” she said.

“We don’t need another inquiry into the justice system, we need governments to act on the evidence before them from past inquiries,

Professor Elliott was the paediatric specialist involved the ground-breaking Lililwan study initiated by Aboriginal women. The study that found that one in five Indigenous children living in WA Fitzroy River Valley had FASD. Although still teenagers, many were before the juvenile justice.

“For children suffering from FASD, it’s like having the umpire removed from an AFL match, they have difficulties deciding best choices or understanding cause and effect,” Dr Mutch said.

“A person with FASD may have cognitive impairment, language difficulties as severe as being illiterate.”

Professor Elliott, a widely acknowledged authority on FASD, said offenders — non-Indigenous and Indigenous — with fetal alcohol brain damage were often incapable of changing their behaviour and learning from mistakes.

“These are young people who can be easily led, are incapable of understanding the consequences of their actions, have difficulty understanding the boundaries for acceptable behaviour. They can confess to crimes they did not commit.”

Dr Mutch said not only FASD affected individuals ended up in the justice system, but children with developmental difficulties and also children traumatised by conflict and abuse.

She is involved in landmark study of young offenders in WA’s Banksia Hill Detention Centre to establish the prevalence of FASD and other neurological disorders. The study is likely to revolutionise strategies for handling juveniles with “neurodevelopmental” issues.

The study will establish the first authoritative estimate in Australia of FASD among young people in detention. It involves a two day multi-disciplined clinical assessment of children with the hope of developing a screening tool for application among all young people entering the juvenile justice system.

“Children in the juvenile justice system have ended up there for a variety of reasons, many of these kids have learning and memory problems,” Dr Mutch said.

“They may also have speech and language problems. Not all are FASD affected, but all I would predict have experienced severe trauma.”

A ‘national tragedy’

A Productivity Commission report into Indigenous disadvantage released last week confirmed rates of incarceration had failed to drop despite a string of reports, inquiries and recommendations dating back to 1987 Deaths in Custody Royal Commission.

Dr Mutch said children were being excluded from society because their behaviour.

“The central question is what are the factors that caused them to be like that and how best to rehabilitate them,” she said.

Both Professor Elliott and Dr Mutch believe screening and clinical assessments in childhood would identify cognitive problems, enable early treatment and result in profound improvements in troublesome behaviours.

This would have an impact on child protection placements including foster care and the management of group homes where evidence has emerged of inappropriate placements and poor supervision.

Offenders with FASD are easily led, coerced by their peers. They can be incapable of providing a record of events, names of associates and often confabulate even to the extent of making false confessions.

They are often unable to instruct a lawyer, understand court procedures and even the decisions handed down when convicted.

In one form or another, Federal, State and Territory Governments have been inquiring into Indigenous prison rates since the 1987 leaving behind a long list of mostly-ignored recommendations.

The Senate is also inquiring into the indefinite detention of people with cognitive impairments — a central issue when it comes to explaining the “national tragedy”.

The Telethon Kids Institute noted in a submission to Senate inquiry into the indefinite detention of people with cognitive and psychiatric impairment that diagnosis of FASD has been limited by a lack of knowledge and until recently an absence of accepted national diagnostic framework.

Australia’s prison population recently reached a record 33,791 with 27 per cent of those identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Children health crisis : With 19,000 kids in new #stolen generation “

  kids

” The almost 19,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out of home care each year need the highest quality support if we are to break these cycles of harm.

As we come to recognise the devastating mental, physical and social impacts of trauma, grief and abuse across generations, and understand just how widespread this problem is for all children, the need to treat child abuse and neglect as a public health issue is clear.

This approach means better understanding the problem, its causes and impacts, and the strategies to best prevent and respond to it.

This approach must be supported by community determination, a strong research and evidence base, a trained and culturally competent workforce and effective interventions, including health promotion. ”

From the Conversation

Read 192 NACCHO Articles about Aboriginal Children

Read 35 NACCHO articles about NT Royal Commission Don Dale Kids

Child protection and out-of-home care have been the subject of multiple inquiries and reviews, and 2016 has been no exception. This year there have been four separate royal commissions into child protection and the related factors of family violence, child sexual abuse, juvenile detention and the systemic failures in these areas.

The Victorian Commission for Children and Young People recently released two reports examining the failure of both government and non-government organisations to implement policies and services for Aboriginal children that will safeguard their cultural connections.

The inter-generational issues that have stemmed from the forced removal of Aboriginal children from their families and communities – and the resultant trauma experienced by so many – have been the focus of concerted action and advocacy by Aboriginal leaders, peak bodies, organisations and community groups since the 1970s.

But in these most recent reports, we see familiar concerns. These include the widespread lack of implementation of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle and the lack of cultural care planning for Aboriginal children in out-of-home care.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle (the principle) is often described and legislated as a “placement hierarchy”.

Under the principle, placement choices for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who can’t remain with their parents start with family and kin networks. That is followed by non-related carers in the child’s community, and then other Aboriginal caregivers and non-relative foster carers.

The principle emphasises five aspects:

  • prevention
  • partnership
  • placement
  • participation, and
  • connection.

These aspects of the principle are often overlooked, or not implemented, because they are not included in legislation.

Nationally, the impact of the principle has crudely been measured through figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare which assess the Aboriginality of caregivers and their relationship to a child.

However, the reports from the Victorian Commission, together with similar audits in Queensland, have highlighted the reality behind the numbers. These reports show minimal practice compliance with the principle, and high levels of variability within and across jurisdictions.

For example, a number of children are not correctly identified as Aboriginal, which means there cannot be adherence to the principle for these children. Similarly, despite policy intent and available programs, there is minimal compliance with several practice aspects including the use of family decision making meetings and strategies to maintain cultural identity.

We’ve examined why this policy and practice disconnect exists when it comes to the safety and well being of Aboriginal children. There are several factors that act as barriers to implementation of the principle, not least of which is the increasing over-representation of Aboriginal children in child protection systems across Australia.


Adapted by Alwin Chong and Fiona Arney from the publication: ‘Enhancing the implementation of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle: Policy and practice considerations.’ CC BY-ND

If we’re going to improve conditions for Aboriginal children in child protection and out-of-home care, we must focus on breaking inter-generational cycles of trauma. We also need to make sure children feel “culturally safe”. That means they don’t face challenges to or denials of their cultural identity; of who they are and what they need.

We must recognise the protective properties of cultural connection, rather than viewing culture as a risk factor, and engage communities in determining the solutions most appropriate for them.

In addition to the work being undertaken as part of the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children, major national grass roots initiatives are driving this change.

National Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal organisations – for example, SNAICC, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation, Winangay Resources, and the Australian Centre for Child Protection – are leading the Family Matters and Positive Futures initiatives to find alternative approaches to support Aboriginal children, their families and communities.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #JustJustice – Accessing Justice for Aboriginal People with Disabilities

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“It’s clear we need to change to law to prevent indefinite detention, but we also need to make sure the supports are available on the ground. People with disabilities who come into contact with the criminal justice system need to be connected to appropriate support,

 “This is especially the case for young people with disabilities in contact with the criminal justice system. We should be intervening as early as possible in a child’s life to identify and address disabilities, and support their parents to care for their child as much as possible.”

Professor Kerry Arabena, a chief investigator on the project Press Release 1 Below

prison

 “At the same time Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are experiencing high rates of violence, being 34 times more likely to be hospitalised for family violence related assault.

“We know that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment rates, and experience of violence, are strongly linked to social and economic disadvantage and so the inquiry must include a focus on early intervention, prevention and diversion programs”

Change the Record Coalition ( CTR ) Co-Chair Shane Duffy Press Release 2 Below

Laws that are meant to protect persons with disabilities in the criminal justice system can lead to detention without an end date.

This is particularly so for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People with Disabilities according to researchers at the University of Melbourne and University of New South Wales.

Researchers have collaborated with the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service and the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency to deal with the support needs of accused persons with mental disabilities.

The Unfitness to Plead and Indefinite Detention of Persons with Cognitive Impairments project is about providing support to people with disabilities in the criminal justice system to prevent their indefinite detention.

The researchers recently gave evidence to a Senate Committee Inquiry into the Indefinite Detention of People with Cognitive Impairment in Darwin last week.

The research team, which includes a number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers and advocates, have just concluded a six-month trial of supports for accused persons with disabilities when they reach the court system.

Professor Kerry Arabena, a chief investigator on the project, says Indigenous people with disabilities are clearly over-represented in the criminal justice system.

“It’s clear we need to change to law to prevent indefinite detention, but we also need to make sure the supports are available on the ground. People with disabilities who come into contact with the criminal justice system need to be connected to appropriate support,” she said.

“This is especially the case for young people with disabilities in contact with the criminal justice system. We should be intervening as early as possible in a child’s life to identify and address disabilities, and support their parents to care for their child as much as possible.

It is a travesty that in 2016 we can have over representation in the criminal justice system because we haven¹t prevented or addressed early health, developmental vulnerabilities or intergenerational trauma in the first 2 years of life.  We do not need prison solutions for health issues.” Professor Arabena said.

In many places, the right support is unavailable. Jody Barney, one of the National Advisory Panel members for the project is a leading Aboriginal Disability consultant. She has assisted Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities in the criminal justice system all over Australia.

“The Unfitness to Plead Project tries to make sure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities not only have the right communication access and supports but the physical presence of an advocate and interpreter to assist their understanding of the justice system.”

“While the project doesn’t focus on young people, we have identified the unmet needs of the young people with disabilities during the course of the project. The work needs to be extended to include youth and reduce the recidivism of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander in detention.” she said.

Another member of the advisory panel, Ms Elizabeth McEntyre, a criminal justice social worker has conducted research with Aboriginal communities in NSW and NT on Aboriginal people with mental and cognitive disabilities in the criminal justice system.

”Better education and information are needed for police, teachers, lawyers, magistrates, health, corrections, disability and community service providers regarding understanding and working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and men with cognitive impairment and complex support needs, ” she said.

The researchers call for a suite of reforms to ensure accused persons with disabilities get the support they need to access justice on an equal basis with others.

Mr Lenny Clarke, a First Persons Disability Network representative and one of the project’s advisors says that people with disabilities are often subject to prejudice, discrimination and exclusion.

“Most people don’t understand disability and or don’t feel affected – for them it is a case of  ‘That’s other peoples and families problems.’ “

The project team recommends that it should be mandatory for all sections of Law enforcement agencies and administrators of the judicial system to participate in extensive training and awareness programs on disability.

health-justice

Watch live link Here

Australian Law Reform Commission inquiry into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment must focus on solutions

From

Change the Record (CTR) Coalition

A major national inquiry into the over-imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples must focus on identifying tangible solutions that address the underlying causes of imprisonment, says the Change the Record (CTR) Coalition.

In welcoming today’s announcement of an Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) inquiry into the over-imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the coalition of peak Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, human rights and legal organisations has said it is essential that the inquiry focus on practical measures that invest in and strengthen communities.

CTR Co-Chair Shane Duffy said, “For a long time we have been calling for the Federal Government to take a leadership role on these issues, and so we welcome the Turnbull Government beginning to step up to the plate”.

“This year marks 25 years since the landmark Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC), but our people continue to experience imprisonment and violence at crisis rates.

The new ALRC inquiry offers an important opportunity to shine a comprehensive light on these issues at a national level, and identify tangible actions for all levels of government” said Mr Duffy. At the time the RCIADIC report was handed down Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were seven times more likely to be in prison, now in 2016 that figure has risen to 13 times.

At the same time Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are experiencing high rates of violence, being 34 times more likely to be hospitalised for family violence related assault.

“We know that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment rates, and experience of violence, are strongly linked to social and economic disadvantage and so the inquiry must include a focus on early intervention, prevention and diversion programs” said Mr Duffy.

Co-Chair Antoinette Braybrook said, “Whilst the announcement of an ALRC inquiry to examine the factors leading to the over-imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is welcome, it is essential that the inquiry also consider issues relating to the prevention of family violence and reducing barriers for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims/survivors of family violence to access quality, holistic, culturally safe legal services and supports.”

“It is also critical that the Terms of Reference for the inquiry are developed in close consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak bodies, and those who are members of Change the Record. To ensure that the inquiry has a meaningful outcome, all levels of Government must commit to implementing the recommendations in full.”

“The Federal Government should also take immediate steps to highlight its commitment to improving justice outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including by setting meaningful national justice targets through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and committing to review the implementation of RCIADIC” said Ms Braybrook.

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NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Prisons #justjustice : Devastating crisis and public health emergency unfolding

 

nt

 “The Safer Northern Territory through Correctional Interventions, also known as the Hamburger report, labeled the Northern Territory’s imprisonment rates as the worst in Australia and some of the worst in the world. 

The report revealed 85 per cent of adult prisoners are Indigenous, and 95 per cent of juvenile detainees are Indigenous, with both heavily recidivist.

It made 172 recommendations to the Northern Territory government, a number of which were flagged as “urgent”.

“It really highlights how dysfunctional the justice system is, and this has been happening over a number of years,”

North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency CEO, Priscilla Collins,

 ” NACCHO readers are invited to attend the launch in Sydney on November 27 of #JustJustice, a book profiling solutions to the over-incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.  Professor Tom Calma AO, a social justice champion and Chancellor of the University of Canberra, will launch the book, which will also be freely available as an e-book via Croakey.org.

 The launch comes amid mounting pressure on federal, state and territory governments to address over-incarceration, which the #JustJustice book makes clear is a public health emergency. “

See Invitation below

Aboriginal NGO’s in the Northern Territory have welcomed a report that recommended a complete overhaul of the Territory Corrections system to address a “devastating” crisis unfolding for Indigenous Australians.

“We got here because no-one listened, no-one listened to the concerns of the sector, no-one listened to the concerns of the prisoners.”

While the Territory’s population makes up just one per cent of Australia, it accounts for five per cent of prisoners – most of whom are Indigenous.

The report revealed 85 per cent of adult prisoners are Indigenous, and 95 per cent of juvenile detainees are Indigenous, with both heavily recidivist.

Hamburger Report recommendations include:

-The creation of a culturally-informed justice system with rehabilitative work camps-

-Engagement with elders

-Improved training

-The creation of a Statutory Authority to review the system

-The development of prison alternatives for youth

-More female corrections officers

-Senior roles for Indigenous people in corrections

-A paradigm shift to cater for a majority Indigenous population

-The creation of cultural healing programs

-The reinstatement of Aboriginal Liaison officers

“It’s something that the legal services and a lot of the NGO’s have been saying to the government for many, many years – that this needs to happen and it just fell on deaf years.

“To have a report that comes out and highlights this and has it in their key recommendations is just such a positive move,” Priscilla Collins says.

“All of it will take us a while, but there’s a number of recommendations that can happen quite quickly,” she adds.

The report has echoed previous calls to close Darwin’s troubled Don Dale Youth Detention Centre.

“Look that’s been a concern we’ve been raising for a number of years,” Ms Collins said.

“Don Dale was never suitable for youth, and then they put them into an adult prison that wasn’t suitable for adults, but is all of a sudden suitable for youth… and you wonder why we have problems when you’re putting people into inhumane facilities,” Ms Collins said.

But the Attorney-General, Natasha Fyles, said there won’t be a new facility until after the Royal Commission.

“A new youth detention facility would be a significant infrastructure spend,” she said.

“We need to make sure the model of that infrastructure is appropriate and I believe those royal commission findings are imperative.”

The Hamburger report found not one of the Territory’s Correctional Facilities are satisfactory, revealing:

-Don Dale Youth Detention Centre is “unsuitable accommodation for young people in detention”.

-Alice Springs Youth Detention Centre is also “unsuitable accommodation for young people in detention”.

-Darwin’s half-billion-dollar prison commissioned less than a decade ago is “unfit for purpose”.

-Alice Springs adult prison is operating “well over-capacity”.

It also found many low risk prisoners are being classified as ‘high risk’, housed in isolation, and restricted from rehabilitative programs.

“That’s been an ongoing issue and that also comes down to the training of staff. We welcome intensive training of the staff, and should also look at whether there’s failures in the policies and procedures,” Ms Collins said.

The report recommended the classification of prisoners be managed externally.

The Hamburger Report was commissioned by the former Country Liberals government after boys were gassed and shackled at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre, but former Chief Minister Adam Giles refused to release its findings.

The new Labor government has accepted the findings and released an executive summary of the report, but it too has refused to make the whole document public, citing privacy issues.

The government says “some of the findings have been addressed”, and it will work to support collaborative Indigenous policy reforms over the next 12 months.

The full report will be tabled at the Royal Commission into Youth Detention.

The NT government last week introduced legislation to ban the use of restraint chairs on youths and has already moved youth justice out of the corrections and into the families department.

The NT Corrections Department annual report for 2015-16 has also been released this week, revealing the adult prison population has hit a 15-year high.

It found the Northern Territory’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prison populations are 30 per cent higher than the national average.

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1. Call to action to Present
at the 2016 Members Conference closing 8 November
See below or Download here

2.NACCHO Partnership Opportunities

3. NACCHO Interim 3 day Program has been released
4. The dates are fast approaching – so register today
nt

NACCHO #NTRC Aboriginal Health : Two NT #ACCHO ‘s funded for support services for people impacted by the Commission.

royal-commission

 ” The Commonwealth Department of Social Services has announced that funding has been provided for support services for children, young people, their families and others impacted by the Commission.

Royal Commission website

Discussing experiences of the child protection system or time spent in youth detention can be difficult. This is especially so for people who experienced abuse and are telling their story for the first time.”

The Territory-wide Helpline is 1800 500 853

  • This is a free helpline which will be answered locally, available 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday
  • Experienced and qualified staff can refer people to a range of services including counsellors, therapeutic support, and health professionals
  • Calls made from a mobile phone may incur additional costs

Update : CANCELLATION OF HERMANNSBURG COMMUNITY MEETING

The Commission confirms that tomorrow’s proposed community in Hermannsburg (20 October 2016) has been cancelled due to other business in the community.

Details of the individual services funded and how to contact them directly are

Danila Dilba Health Service – services include:

  • trauma-informed and culturally safe face to face and telephone counselling and support services delivered by psychologists and qualified counsellors
  • practitioners experienced in pre, during and post Royal Commission counselling and support;
  • therapeutic group services
  • culturally safe support and advocacy services to young people impacted by youth detention delivered by experienced Youth Support and Engagement practitioners
  • a broad suite of primary health care services tailored for men, women and children delivered by Aboriginal Health Practitioners, GP’s and maternal, paediatric and allied health, etc, specialists;
  • Alcohol and Other Drugs services
  • chronic disease care coordination; and health education and promotion

Phone

(08) 8942 5400 Darwin, Palmerston and Malak

Website www.daniladilbaexperience.org.au/about-us.html

Relationships Australia NT – services include:

  • trauma-informed culturally appropriate support and information on how to engage with the Royal Commission and what to expect from the enquiry process
  • face to face and telephone counselling by qualified counsellors
  • support through legal processes
  • referrals to legal and advocacy services
  • pre and post counselling support to those directly affected who are giving evidence as well as their families
  • mentoring by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural advisors, and healing camps on Country.

Phone

(08) 8923 4999 Darwin and Katherine office with outreach to other areas

(08) 8950 4100 Alice Springs office with outreach to other areas

Website www.nt.relationships.org.au/locations/darwin

The Central Australian Aboriginal Congress – services include:

  • trauma-informed and culturally safe counselling and support services for Aboriginal children, young people and families affected by the events and stories of the Royal Commission in Youth Detention
  • a holistic suite of primary health care services for men, women, young people and children
  • Alcohol and Other Drugs services
  • youth mental health services
  • Family Support Programs
  • chronic disease care coordination; sexual health and health promotion

Phone

(08) 8959 4750 Alice Springs and surrounding areas

Website www.caac.org.au

other support

Hearing and talking about child protection and kids in detention can be hard for young people, parents, families and communities.

There are a number of other  services available which can provide support wherever you are in the NT. If you need support you can call the following services:

Lifeline Freecall 13 11 14
Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
NT Mental Health Help Line 1800 682 288
Headspace (12-25 years)     1800 659 388 or 8931 5999
Beyond Blue 1300 224 636

NACCHO #NTRC Aboriginal Children’s Health : Update this weeks community consultations Royal Commission #DonDaleKids

pic-1ntrc

Indigenous infants were still suffering damage to brain growth from the impact on parenting on the colonial frontier with “trans-generational psychic trauma” disabling normal pathways of neurological maturation and effecting the capacity to manage stress.

A back of the envelope extrapolation on the figures of keeping children in detention or out-of-home care was also in the tens of millions,”

Paediatrician and Emeritus Professor at the University of Newcastle, John Boulton

Picture above : The Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory was told by several speakers at a public meeting in Darwin that the Department of Families and Children was “broken” and should be shut. Photo: Glenn Campbell Reported by SMH

Next weeks Community Consultations

meeting-1

Eighty per cent of boys at the controversial Don Dale Youth Detention Centre had been sexually abused prior to their incarceration.

This was one of the bewildering claims made at a public meeting in Darwin where speaker after speaker attacked NT governments for cutting funds to child protection and allowing generations of public servants to take Indigenous children away from families reports by SMH Damien Murphy          

Many said the Department of Families and Children was “broken” and should be shut.

Most demanded that care of Indigenous children be the sole preserve of kin and were highly critical of favouritism given to white foster families who they claimed were not subjected to the same checks and balances by a public service culture that existed to perpetuate itself.

“You want to know why our kids end up in Don Dale? This is a new generation of stolen children,” a woman who said she had been subjected to undue red tape when applying to take a relative into care.

Stuart Davidson, the first deputy superintendent of Don Dale, said 80 per cent of teenagers under his care at the centre had been sexually abused prior to their incarceration.

“The system just didn’t recognise the trauma it is dealing with. And gradually those charged with looking after the boys started to reflect the lack of care of the management and, ultimately, the politicians.”

Welfare worker Lindsay Ah Mat said political parties courted the black vote when it suited them: “But soon as they get it they piss all over us.”

The meeting on Friday at Darwin’s Marrara Sports Complex was called by the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory as part of its community consultation program. It followed three days of public hearings this week.

The royal commission came in the wake of a July Four Corners program with footage showing teenagers at the Don Dale being tear gassed and one in a spit hood handcuffed to a chair.

One of the whistleblowers behind the Four Corners report, Darwin lawyer John Lawrence, told Fairfax Media the royal commission was on track to succeed where scores of other government inquiries on child protection had failed.

“This royal commission exists due to the failure of those in authority in the Territory to stand up for what is right,” he said.

“We’re all guilty. Lawyers, judges, politicians … We’re supposed to protect society. How did we get to a place where a spit hood is an appropriate way to treat a child? Years of complacency gave way to complicity and now process and budgets have usurped principles and ethics.”

The elite of the NT legal fraternity on Tuesday gathered in the NT Parliament just hours after the royal commission sat for the first time in the neighbouring Supreme Court building. One of the few Indigenous people present, James Parfitt, gave a welcome to country and then the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria, Marilyn Warren, delivered an oration honouring Austin Asche, a doyen of the Darwin legal establishment, on the topic of young people offending in which she tip-toed around the royal commission.

Down the road in Mitchell Street, an Irish pub and restaurants Thailicious, Hunaman and Monsoon chased tourist dollars while Indigenous men and women sat on footpaths begging, singing and playing clapsticks, their songs drowned out by Neil Diamond and Dire Straits on sound systems.

Life went on in Darwin as if the royal commission was some unwanted outsider. Local media carried the stories but not prominently. One witness, Lowitja Institute chairwoman, Pat Anderson, suggested to the commission the dearth of local interest was shown by the fact that a crocodile story was on the morning’s NT News front page. A desultory process was staged the first day outside the Supreme Court.

The first three days of hearings saw bureaucrats and health professionals give evidence of the plethora of reports carried out on child protection for NT governments. Many were shelved or not acted upon. Meanwhile, funds to child welfare agencies continued to be cut by the federal governments and the Darwin administration failed to step in.

Commissioners were also told of the role that hearing loss and foetal alcohol spectrum disorder had come to play in the lives of teenagers in detention in the NT.

Paediatrician and Emeritus Professor at the University of Newcastle, John Boulton, cited research he conducted in the Kimberley on foetal alcohol spectrum disorder saying communities were breaking down, especially since the 1980s when women started drinking.

“A back of the envelope extrapolation on the figures of keeping children in detention or out-of-home care was also in the tens of millions,” Professor Boulton said.

He said Indigenous infants were still suffering damage to brain growth from the impact on parenting on the colonial frontier with “trans-generational psychic trauma” disabling normal pathways of neurological maturation and effecting the capacity to manage stress.

Commissioners also heard 94 per cent of Indigenous prisoners suffered impaired hearing and research found six out of 10 boys at the notorious Don Dale Detention Centre had hearing difficulties.

A deaf Indigenous community consultant, Jodie Barney, slammed the use of spit hoods and handcuffs on young offenders shown on Four Corners.

“I have had a few young people who have had a spit hood and they have also been bound. So therefore their form of communication is lost in every sense of the word,” she said.

The commission continues with community consultation meetings next week and will conduct further hearings next month.

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