Ms Dhu 12a - Visibility CCTV


The Visibility of State Violence

Two women carry a painted banner at a protest in the streets. It depicts an image of Dylan Voller strapped to a chair and hooded with an Australian flag. Blood drips down from the top of the banner. The word 'GENOCIDE' is printed at the bottom.

[imagecaption] Hands off Aboriginal Kids rally, Narrm (Melbourne), 2016. Photo: Charandev Singh. In July 2016, ABC 4 Corners broadcast ‘Australia’s Shame’ in which CCTV footage was shown from the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre. This included evidence of children being brutalised, tear gassed, held in isolation cells and tortured. The vision of teenager Dylan Voller hooded and strapped to a chair became an iconic symbol of state sanctioned violence within the juvenile justice system. As Amy McQuire writes, ‘Without video evidence, Australians find it hard to believe that Black Lives Matter’. [/imagecaption]


Following the conclusion of the Inquest Ms Dhu’s family agreed that they would like the CCTV of her treatment in custody to be released. Despite this, the Coroner ruled against releasing the footage on the paternalistic grounds that it had the potential to ‘re-traumatise’ them and the broader Aboriginal community. FNDICWC made a submission supporting the family’s application to release the footage. Ms Dhu’s Uncle Shaun Harris led a tireless public campaign to release the CCTV footage that was eventually successful.

‘It’s traumatising yes, but it still needs to be put out there…They can’t hurt us anymore, but they can traumatise us more by still holding back the truth…There will never be any justice unless there is truth and accountability.’

Shaun Harris (Ms Dhu’s Uncle)


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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are respectfully advised that this website contains images of and references to deceased persons.

All viewers are respectfully advised that the site contains images of and references to the deaths in custody of Indigenous peoples, Black people and refugees that may cause distress.