Calling States to Account 14i - Australia


Australia: The struggle for recognition

Placard being held by someone standing in a crowd of people at a protest, it reads 'Australia is a crime scene'. A woman standing to the left is wearing read and holding clap sticks.

[imagecaption] Justice for Elijah – Warriors of Aboriginal Resistance, Narrm (Melbourne), 2017. Photo: Charandev Singh. [/imagecaption]

‘By 2021-22 violence against Aboriginal women is estimated to cost the nation an extraordinary $2.2 billion a year. Its moral cost – which sees lives lost and communities destroyed – is unquantifiable.’

Antoinette Braybrook (Kuku Yalanji),  Convenor of the National Family Violence Prevention Legal Services Forum

‘There is certainly a lack of urgency, a lack of recognition of the broader issue of violence in Australia and the amount of women who lose their lives.’

Linda Burney, Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs


In Australia, the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls is yet to be acknowledged by the state and the broader community in the same way as in Canada and the US. The Australian state’s major initiative to date, the  Northern Territory Intervention of  2007, ostensibly undertaken to protect children from sexual abuse through the use of the army, is strongly condemned by both Indigenous leaders and the international human rights movement. Twelve years after the Intervention, rates of child removal, incarceration and suicide are higher than before in the Northern Territory.

Families and communities continue to speak out about and mobilise around the disappearances of their loved ones, but countless cases remain unsolved and invisible to the wider public. The ABC investigation ‘Lost, missing or murdered?’ which highlights the disappearances of several Indigenous women, including Monique Clubb and Veronica Lockyer, has sparked calls from advocates for the establishment of a national taskforce.

Although awareness has increased of the hyper-incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls and the rates of domestic violence they experience, the deaths and disappearances of Indigenous women and girls remains to be named as a national crisis in Australia. Most recently, as this study concludes, the Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Linda Burney, called for a Senate Inquiry into violence against Aboriginal women.

The struggle continues.


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