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Behind Closed Doors: Youth Detention in Australia

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. 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 will discuss the findings of the Royal Commission in NT, and the connection between over-imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and over-imprisonment of the Indigenous adult population. They’ll also reflect on prevention and diversion strategies for young people and the roles that NGOs, families and communities can play.

Presented in partnership with Change the Record.

#YouthDetentionAu

Who?

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 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.

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). Her employment saw her undertaking many important cases in remote regions of the Top End of the NT and in WA. 

For over a decade Shahleena worked with the Aboriginal Legal Services in WA and the Top End of the NT. Over that time she worked 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. He was formerly the Executive Officer of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (NATSILS).

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