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Day 1: Australia 2012

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The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC) reported in 1991. At that time, Aboriginal people made up 14% of the total prison population and were up to 15 times more likely to be in prison than non-Aboriginal people. The Report made a large number of recommendations to address this issue. [122]

Despite this, the number of Indigenous prisoners has increased significantly over the 17-years since the RDIADC. Indigenous prisoners represented 24% of the total prisoner population (6139 males and 567 females) [123] as of the 30th June 2008, a proportion unchanged from the previous year. [124] The ABS notes that caution must be taken in interpreting the increases in the percentage of Indigenous peoples in the prison population, the increase may be due to alterations in the method of data collection and/ or the willingness of Indigenous prisoners to participate and identify themselves as Indigenous. [125]

Incarceration rates for women generally have increased more rapidly than for men and the increase in imprisonment of Indigenous women has been much greater over the period compared with non-Indigenous women. [130] The Indigenous female imprisonment rate has increased by 34 % between 2002 and 2006 while the imprisonment rate for Indigenous men has increased by 22%. [131]

Indigenous women are also 23 times more likely to be imprisoned than non-Indigenous women while Indigenous men are 16 times more likely to be imprisoned than non-Indigenous men. [132]

Child protection

Both the 1994 and 2002 surveys report that 8% of Indigenous respondents aged 15 years or over at the time of the surveys, had been taken away from their natural family. [143] The incidence of removal increased slightly with age, (perhaps reflecting greater numbers of removals in the past):

  • 10% of Indigenous respondents aged 25 years or over reported that they had been taken away from their natural family.
  • 10% was recorded for the closest equivalent age cohort group (35 years or over) in the NATSISS 2002.

In the NATSISS 2002, 38% of respondents reported that they had either been removed themselves and/ or had relatives who, as a child, had been removed from their natural family. The most frequently reported relatives removed were grandparents (15%), aunts or uncles (11%), and parents (9%). [144]
The intergenerational impacts of past child removal practices are reflected in the higher numbers of substantiation orders, child protection orders and child removal orders being made in the present day in relation to Indigenous children.

The intergenerational impacts of past child removal practices [145]

Among all of the Aboriginal children and young people living in Western Australia, 35.3 per cent were found to be living in households where a carer or a carer's parent (e.g. grandparent) was reported to have been forcibly separated from their natural family.

It was found that carers who had been forcibly separated from their natural families (compared with carers of Aboriginal children who had not been forcibly separated) were:

  • 1.95 times more likely to have been arrested or charged with an offence
  • 1.61 times more likely to report the overuse of alcohol caused problems in the household
  • 2.10 times more likely to report that betting or gambling caused problems in the household
  • Less than half as likely to have social support in the form of someone they can "yarn' to about problems
  • 1.50 times more likely to have had contact with Mental Health Services in Western Australia.

Further, Aboriginal children whose primary carer had been forcibly separated from their natural family were found to be 2.34 times more likely to be at high risk of clinically significant emotional or behavioral difficulties than children whose carers were not forcibly separated.

Bibliography


[1] Australian Bureau of Statistics, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey 2002, ABS cat no 4714.0 (2004).
[2] Australian Bureau of Statistics, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey 2004-05, ABS cat no 4715.0 (2005).
[3] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Australian Bureau of Statistics, The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2008, ABS cat no 4704.0 (2008).
[4] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Population Distribution, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians 2001, ABS cat no 4705.0 (2002) p 7-15.
[5] For further information, see also Australian Human Rights Commission, Face the Facts (2008). At: http://www.humanrights.gov.au/racial_discrimination/face_facts/index.html (viewed 22 January 2009).
[6] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Population Characteristics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2006, ABS cat no 4713.0 (2008) p 12.
[7] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Population Characteristics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2006, ABS cat no 4713.0 (2008) p 12; Australian Bureau of Statistics, Population Characteristics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2001, ABS cat no 4713.0 (2001) p 12.
[8] Australian Bureau of Statistics and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2003, ABS cat no 4704.0 (2003) p 245.
[9] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Population Characteristics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2006, ABS cat no 4713.0 (2008) p 10.
[10] Australian Bureau of Statistics Population Characteristics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2006, ABS cat no 4713.0 (2008) p 15.
[11] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Population Characteristics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2006, ABS cat no 4713.0 (2008) p 12.
[12] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Population Characteristics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2006, ABS cat no 4713.0 (2008) p 19, table 2.2.
[13] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Population Characteristics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2006, ABS cat no 4713.0 (2008) p 9.
[14] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Australian Bureau of Statistics, The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2008, ABS cat no 4704.0 (2008) p 79.
[15] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Australian Bureau of Statistics, The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2008, ABS cat no 4704.0 (2008) p 79.
[16] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Australian Bureau of Statistics, The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2008, ABS cat no 4704.0 (2008) p 80.
[17] Australian Bureau of Statistics and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2005, ABS cat no 4704.0 (2005) p 74.
[18] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Population Characteristics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2006, ABS cat no 4713.0 (2008) p 14-15.
[19] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Yearbook 2008, ABS cat no 1301.0 (2008) p 198.
[20] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Population Characteristics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2006, ABS cat no 4713.0 (2008) p 15,(unnumbered graph).
[21] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Population Characteristics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2006, ABS cat no 4713.0 (2008) p 14.

[22] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Population Characteristics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2006, ABS cat no 4713.0 (2008) p 16.
[23] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Population Characteristics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2006, ABS cat no 4713.0 (2008) p 12.
[24] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Population Characteristics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2006, ABS cat no 4713.0 (2008) p 13.
[25] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Population Characteristics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2006, ABS cat no 4713.0 (2008) p 27.
[26] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Population Characteristics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2006, ABS cat no 4713.0 (2008) p 27.
[27] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Population Characteristics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2006, ABS cat no 4713.0 (2008) p 28.
[28] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Population Characteristics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2006, ABS cat no 4713.0 (2008) p 27.
[29] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Population Characteristics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2006, ABS cat no 4713.0 (2008) p 27.
[30] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Population Characteristics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2006, ABS cat no 4713.0 (2008) p 35-37.
[31] Australian Bureau of Statistics, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey 1994 -- Detailed Findings, ABS cat no 4190.0 (1995) p 4.
[32] Australian Bureau of Statistics, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey 2004-05, ABS cat no 4715.0 (2005).
[33] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Australian Bureau of Statistics, The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2008, ABS cat no 4704.0 (2008) p 9.
[34] There are long-standing issues pertaining to the identification of an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person as the deceased on death certificates that prevent definitive statements being made about Indigenous peoples' life expectation, hence the reliance on life expectation estimation formulas to arrive at figures. In 2006, it was estimated that only 55% of the deaths of Indigenous peoples were correctly identified. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Deaths 2006, ABS cat no 3320.0 (2006) p 69, Table 9.1.
[35] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Australian Bureau of Statistics, The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2008, ABS cat no 4704.0 (2008) p 154.
[36] United Nations Development Program, Human Development Report 2005 (2005) p 220, Table 1.
[37] F Baum, The New Public Health (2002) p 198.
[38] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Deaths 2006, ABS cat no 3320.0 (2006) p 9.
[39] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Social Trends 2002, ABS cat. no. 4102.0 (2002) p 83-85.
[40] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Deaths 2006, ABS cat no 3320.0 (2006) p 8.
[41] I Ring and D Firman, "Reducing Indigenous mortality in Australia: lessons from other countries', Medical Journal of Australia (1998) 169, p 528-533.
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[44] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Australian Bureau of Statistics, The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2008, ABS cat no 4704.0 (2008) p 156-7.
[45] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Australian Bureau of Statistics, The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2008, ABS cat no 4704.0 (2008) p 159.
[46] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Australian Bureau of Statistics, The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2008, ABS cat no 4704.0 (2008) p 159.
[47] Australian Bureau of Statistics and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2005 (2005) p 79.
[48] National Health and Medical Research Council, Nutrition in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, an information paper (2000) p 21.
[49] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Australian Bureau of Statistics, The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2008, ABS cat no 4704.0 (2008) p 83.
[50] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Australian Bureau of Statistics, The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2008, ABS cat no 4704.0 (2008) p 84, Graph 6.6.
[51] N Thomson, "Responding to our "Spectacular Failure"', in N Thompson, The Health of Indigenous Australians, (2005) p 490.
[52] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Deaths 2001, ABS cat. no.3320.0 (2002) p 23.
[53] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Australian Bureau of Statistics, The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2008, ABS cat no 4704.0 (2008) p 94.

[54] Standardised mortality rate is observed as Indigenous deaths divided by expected Indigenous deaths, based on the age, sex and cause specific rates for non-Indigenous Australians: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australia's Health 2008, ABS cat no 8903.0 (2008) p 76.

[55] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australia's Health 2008, ABS cat no 8903.0 (2008) Table 3.4.
[56] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Australian Bureau of Statistics, The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2008, ABS cat no 4704.0 (2008) p 130.
[57] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Australian Bureau of Statistics, The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2008, ABS cat no 4704.0 (2008) p 121, Table 7.34.
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[63] S Zubrick, S Silburn, D Lawrence and others, The Western Australian Aboriginal Child Health Survey: The Social and Emotional Wellbeing of Aboriginal Children and Young People, Curtin University of Technology and Telethon Institute for Child Health Research (2005) p 30.
[64] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Australian Bureau of Statistics, The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2008, ABS cat no 4704.0 (2008) p 111.
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[69] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Australian Bureau of Statistics, The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2008, ABS cat no 4704.0 (2008) p 139-140.
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[75] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Australian Bureau of Statistics, The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2008, ABS cat no 4704.0 (2008) p 141.
[76] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Australian Bureau of Statistics, The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2008, ABS cat no 4704.0 (2008) p 141.
[77] Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Review of the First Phase of the Petrol Sniffing Strategy (2008). At http://www.facsia.gov.au/indigenous/petrol_sniffing_strategy_review/p02.htm (viewed 19 January 2009).
[78] Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs; Department of Health and Ageing; and others, Submission to the Senate Inquiry into Petrol Sniffing and Substance Abuse in Central Australia, 22 August 2008, p 8. At http://www.aph.gov.au/SENATE/COMMITTEE/clac_ctte/petrol_sniffing_substance_abuse08/submissions/sub14.pdf (viewed 19 January 2009).
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[80] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Australian Bureau of Statistics, The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2008, ABS cat no 4704.0 (2008) p 55.
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[84] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Population Characteristics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2006, ABS cat no 4713.0 (2008) p 104.
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[88] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Population Characteristics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2006, ABS cat no 4713.0 (2008) p 66.
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[95] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Australian Bureau of Statistics, The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2008, ABS cat no 4704.0 (2008) p 16-17.
[96] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Australian Bureau of Statistics, The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2008, ABS cat no 4704.0 (2008) p 20.
[97] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Australian Bureau of Statistics, The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2008, ABS cat no 4704.0 (2008) p 22.
[98] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Australian Bureau of Statistics, The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2008, ABS cat no 4704.0 (2008) p 24.
[99] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Australian Bureau of Statistics, The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2008, ABS cat no 4704.0 (2008) p 24.
[100] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Australian Bureau of Statistics, The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2008, ABS cat no 4704.0 (2008) p 25.
[101] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Australian Bureau of Statistics, The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2008, ABS cat no 4704.0 (2008) p 29-30.
[102] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Australian Bureau of Statistics, The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2008, ABS cat no 4704.0 (2008) p 30.
[103] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Australian Bureau of Statistics, The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2008, ABS cat no 4704.0 (2008) p 30.
[104] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Australian Bureau of Statistics, The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2008, ABS cat no 4704.0 (2008) p 30.
[105] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Australian Bureau of Statistics, The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2008, ABS cat no 4704.0 (2008) p 30.
[106] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Australian Bureau of Statistics, The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2008, ABS cat no 4704.0 (2008) p 37.
[107] The Canadian model is sensitive to both household size and composition and uses the following criteria to assess bedroom requirements:

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Lewis Mehl-Madrona graduated from Stanford University School of Medicine and completed residencies in family medicine and in psychiatry at the University of Vermont. He is the author of Coyote Medicine, Coyote Healing, Coyote Wisdom, and (more...)
 
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