Posted on 2 May 2012

Today’s launch of the Justice Reinvestment Campaign for Aboriginal young people highlights again that prevention, early intervention and diversion are the keys to building safe communities and reducing over-representation of Aboriginal people in the criminal justice system.

Congress Co-Chair Les Malezer said the failure to close the gap in the over-representation of Aboriginal people in the juvenile justice system shows that current strategies are ineffectual.

“The national rate of detention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in juvenile justice is 28 times that of non-Aboriginal people,” he said.

“Congress has previously called for the setting of justice targets to focus governments on addressing the significant and long-standing over-representation of Aboriginal people in the criminal justice system.

“COAG missed the opportunity to set justice targets at its last meeting in April. This must feature on the agenda of its next meeting,” he said.

Congress also says the Government should give serious consideration to the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care’s (SNAICC) call for a Deputy Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Commissioner, backed by specific legislation.

Co-Chair Jody Broun said there have been previous representations by Congress Members for the National Children’s Commissioner to have a specific mandate in the special interests of Aboriginal children.

“Our children and young people are in out-of-home care at 10 times the rate of non-Aboriginal children and young people,” she said.

“Broader powers to act in the interests of Aboriginal children must be granted to those with the responsibility to care for Aboriginal children, backed up with greater representation by Aboriginal people in leadership positions.

“Congress urges governments to pick up on the momentum generated by the Justice campaign and supports SNAICC’s call and others in the community who are calling for this kind of action in this area,” she said.

To donwload the pdf of this Media Release click here.

2 May 2012