There have been no Aboriginal deaths in police custody in NSW and the ACT since the Custody Notification Service, a 24-hour legal advice phone line began in 2000.
WE NEED YOUR HELP TO KEEP IT RUNNING!
Show how MASSIVE the support is for the government to fund this service by signing this petition and keeping a vital service alive.
Every time our lawyers speak to an Aboriginal person being detained, they check upon the welfare of the person by asking RU OK? Often people aren’t OK.
Threats of self- harm or suicide are common. Our lawyers are skilled at hearing ideation or real threats of self-harm or suicide. The lawyer talks carefully with the person, notifies the Police and the vulnerable person in custody is made safe.
The CNS is an extremely SUCCESSFUL program assisting vulnerable people with fair and equitable access to justice and welfare.
IT’S NOT JUST A PHONE LINE, IT’S A LIFELINE.
Since July 2012, when the government stopped funding it, ALS staff have covered the costs of the phone line however we are struggling and cannot afford to continue funding the service.
The CNS will cease to exist on the 30th of June 2013 unless government funding is urgently found.
The phone line costs the same to operate as holding two juveniles in detention for one year – $500,000 per annum.
The ALS is urgently calling on the NSW and/or Australian government to fund this essential service. Aboriginal incarceration rates are already too high. It is likely they will increase if the CNS does not exist.
DID YOU KNOW:
– The police must contact the ALS every time they take on an Aboriginal person into custody. It was a recommendation from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and is now legislated under NSW law.
– In the NSW Attorney-General’s Second Reading Speech (2013) on the revised Right to Silence legalisation, the A-G stated the ALS 24-hour legal advice phone line WILL be available for Aboriginal people taken into custody, thereby removing none of the protections afforded to vulnerable Aboriginal people.
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