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Behind Closed Doors: Youth Detention in Australia


Event Status

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 will explore 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.



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 Instit... Read more

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... Read more

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 Un... Read more

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 fr... Read more


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The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Centre stands. We acknowledge and pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their Elders, past and present, as the custodians of the world’s oldest continuous living culture.