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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About 30minutes ago the Senate passed what is known as the Stronger Futures legislation, In essence an extension of the Northern Territory Intervention passed under the previous Howard Government.
The facts of this are largely known, so to the implications. Incarceration & suicide have risen in the Territory since the first instalment, outcomes have not improved and there continues a great deal of fear in the hearts of many. Having just watched 7 straight hours of debate on the matter it again has been reaffirmed how little our members of Parliament know about the First Australians. But this should not come as a surprise, if you speak at someone, instead of listening, you will be no wiser than when you first arrived.
But this is not an attempt to give commentary on the politics, the bill or the Parliament that passed it. There is enough blame for every single one of them and I fear we will again apologise to a generation of Indigenous Australians for the policies of our Government, in our name, that are imposed on them. Sometimes brutally!
This is a message to everyone, it is only over when we allow it to be over! We’ve rallied, we’ve written submissions, we’ve called radio stations, we’ve travelled to Canberra and we have made our objections loud and clear. Now we must offer our support to those who will live under this legislation. To all Indigenous Australians, to those in the NT, to those who live and work as Teachers, Doctors, Nurses etc in Aboriginal communities, on Aboriginal land, we must offer up our assistance. We must extend our hand to them and allow them to direct us. They may live under these laws, but together we can fight back against them. We can offer an ear, we can offer a voice and we can roll up our sleeves. We can assist with legal help, we can (if invited) provide eyes to watch over those who enforce these laws, we can donate to the many wonderful organisations who help improve health, education & housing in Aboriginal communities.
We can also make a commitment not to forget them. Right now as I write this #StrongerFutures is trending nationally on twitter. By the weekend it will be gone. The laws will not! You can make a choice to be distracted by the latest television show, get caught up in the next faux celebrity controversy or simply block it out. But the Intervention will remain a reality for many in the NT. We can have an influence on just how badly it impacts on those forced to live under it. They have not been given a choice to determine their own future, but we do have that luxury.
You cannot say I was not alive when it happened, You cannot say you didn’t know and you cannot say you didn’t know what to do. You may have to listen carefully, you may have to put your ear to the wind and listen for their call. But when it comes, you will have a choice, will this be a Stronger Future against all odds? Or will it be a Stolen Future, not just because our Government took it away, but because you and I didn’t try to fight and take it back?!
For a more detailed map to purchase for your home, school or business please visit:- http://www.aiatsis.gov.au/asp/map.html
Please note these maps are designed only to give a general indication & are not intended to be exact.