Extraordinary systemic and individual failure at the heart of Ms Dhu tragedy
National advocacy organisation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights, ANTaR, today called for immediate action to address the systemic and individual failures in the justice system, in light of the Ms Dhu Coronial Inquest findings.
ANTaR National Director Andrew Meehan, said he was deeply disturbed by the video footage showing the inhumane treatment of Ms Dhu, and that the findings of the Inquiry demonstrate that urgent action is required to prevent such cases occurring again.
Mr Meehan noted that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women can expect to be hospitalised as a result of family violence at 34 times the rate of other women, and they are also the fastest growing prison population in the country.
He also called for compulsory custody notification services to be introduced across the country, and a serious address to systemic racism within the health system, police, and corrective services.
“We’ve got serious racism experienced by First Peoples as part of everyday life – it can’t go on unchecked, and it’s certainly not time to wind back protections against racial discrimination,” he said.
He said that Federal, State and Territory governments need to listen to the solutions that Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention Legal Services, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services, the Change the Record Campaign and many others have been putting forward for years.
“Governments across the country should start by introducing justice targets through COAG on both incarceration and family violence to start driving systemic change and seriously grapple with these issues,” he said.
Mr Meehan acknowledged and praised the extraordinary courage and stoicism of the family of Ms Dhu in demanding the release of the CCTV footage and their unwavering fight for justice.