I am horrified at the abuse of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls in detention, who are now 27 times more likely to be imprisoned than non-Indigenous girls.
Indigenous girls in the youth justice system are highly likely to be victims of violence and from disadvantaged backgrounds. They face discrimination based on their race and gender. Girls are being subjected to the degrading and humiliating practices of forcible strip searches, sexual abuse, solitary confinement and inappropriate detention conditions.
These practices are serious breaches of Australia’s human rights obligations under the Convention Against Torture and the Convention on the Rights of the Child and must be stopped.
Australia can and must do better than this. I want all girls to live happy, healthy lives in their communities.
I call on the Prime Minister to end the abuse and overrepresentation of girls in detention. The Government must immediately invest in early intervention, prevention and rehabilitation programs that are tailored to the needs of girls, and for Indigenous girls, support programs designed and run by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Independent reports in Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia have confirmed the abuse of girls in detention and called for investment in these programs. This must form part of a national plan to end the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in detention.
Indigenous girls must not be neglected by the Government any longer. I urge the Prime Minister Turnbull to show national leadership for this national crisis.
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