Part of a podcast series

The Wheeler Centre

View all episodes in this series

Behind Closed Doors: Youth Detention in Australia

Listen to Behind Closed Doors: Youth Detention in Australia

Photo of Karly Warner, Shahleena Musk, Eddie Cubillo and Antoinette Braybrook

Karly Warner, Shahleena Musk, Eddie Cubillo and Antoinette Braybrook

In July last year, Four Corners broadcast an investigation into the mistreatment of children in Northern Territory youth detention centres. The report included appalling images of teenager Dylan Voller in a mechanical restraint chair at the Alice Springs Detention Centre. The images provided a snapshot of what has been well documented in past reports and the subject of longstanding advocacy by lawyers and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups working in the sector.

The report was the catalyst for the calling of a Royal Commission to investigate serious allegations of mistreatment and abuse of children within the youth detention and child protection systems of the NT (now due to be handed down this November). Indigenous children account for more than half of all Australian children in juvenile detention; this is an issue that both reflects and further entrenches racial inequality.

At this discussion, our panelists explore the connection between over-imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and over-imprisonment of the Indigenous adult population. What are effective prevention and diversion strategies for young people – and what roles could NGOs, families and communities play?

Presented in partnership with Change the Record.



Portrait of Karly Warner

Karly Warner

Karly Warner is a proud Tasmanian Aboriginal woman with connections to the Cowen and the Lockley families. She is executive officer of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services and former chair of the Administrative Law and Human Rights Executive Committee at the Law Institute of Victoria. She is also an advisor on the Aboriginal Advisory Council at Lander and Rogers. Karly has a passion for human rights and a demonstrated experience fighting for justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. 

Portrait of Shahleena Musk

Shahleena Musk

Shahleena Musk joined the Human Rights Law Centre team in February 2017, working in the Indigenous Rights Unit. She is an Aboriginal lawyer descended from the Larrakia people of Darwin. She was the first Aboriginal person to graduate from the then Northern Territory University (now Charles Darwin University) and to be admitted to the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory. 

Shahleena worked as a Crown Prosecutor for the Director of Public Prosecutions in both the Northern Territory (1998–2001) and Western Australia (2006–7). For over a decade she worked with the Aboriginal Legal Services in WA and the Top End of the NT, including roles as a criminal solicitor, youth lawyer, Practice Manager and Deputy Manager.

Portrait of Eddie Cubillo

Eddie Cubillo

Eddie Cubillo is an Aboriginal man with strong family links throughout the Northern Territory. His mother is of Larrakia/Wadjigan descent, and his father is Central Arrente. Eddie’s family has experienced the intergenerational effects of the policy of forced removal of children of mixed descent from their family and country.

Portrait of Antoinette Braybrook

Antoinette Braybrook

Antoinette Braybrook is the CEO of the Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service Victoria (FVPLS Victoria), a position she has held since the service was established 14 years ago. Under Antoinette’s leadership, FVPLS Victoria has grown from a one-staff member operation to a statewide service, with more than 30 employees located in four offices across Victoria.

In addition to Antoinette’s leadership of the FVPLS Victoria, she has been elected as the National Convenor of the National Family Violence Prevention Legal Services Forum (National FVPLS Forum). The National FVPLS Forum comprises of 14 organisations that deliver the family violence legal and non-legal services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims/survivors of family violence and sexual assault around Australia.

Antoinette is an Aboriginal woman who was born in Victoria on Wurundjeri country. Antoinette's grandfather and mother’s line is through the Kuku Yalanji, North Queensland. Antoinette graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from Deakin University in 2000 and was admitted as a legal practitioner in Victoria in 2004.

The Wheeler Centre

Subscribe to the Wheeler Centre's podcast to hear full recordings of our talks – featuring the best in books, writing and ideas.