On the day that marks Aboriginal Children's Day, a group has protested in Sydney to stop the mass removal of Aboriginal children, to stop the abuse of children in juvenile prisons and demand an independent review into all "out of home care" cases.
By
Laura Morelli

Source:
NITV News
4 Aug 2016 - 2:45 PM  UPDATED 4 Aug 2016 - 5:25 PM

Grandmothers Against Removals is a network of families directly affected by forced child removal and supporters. They have held protests on Aboriginal Children’s Day this year, to continue the fight against injustice.

They are calling for a stop to the mass removal of children from their families by “child protection” services, police and juvenile prisons across Australia. They claim that the torture of children in the Darwin youth detention centre is symptomatic of the institutionalised child abuse perpetrated by these systems of forced removal.

What Grandmothers Against Removals wants

  1. Stop the mass removal of Aboriginal children

  2. Stop the abuse of children in juvenile prisons and “out of home care”

  3. Demand and independent review into all cases of Aboriginal children in "out of home care"

The number of Aboriginal children in "out of home care" is higher than ever and rising rapidly. Far more children are being taken today than during the Stolen Generations of the 20th Century. The numbers have increased 400 per cent since Kevin Rudd’s “apology”.

"Our biggest fight is that kids shouldn't be removed but instead they should live with family."

"The number of Aboriginal children in "out of home care" is higher than ever and rising rapidly. Far more children are being taken today than during the Stolen Generations of the 20th Century."

The proportion of children being placed with their Aboriginal family is also steadily declining. Many end up in the juvenile detention system and Aboriginal children are 28 times more likely to be incarcerated than non-Aboriginal children.

The protest shines a light on justice for the children abused in the NT prison and across Australia. The group has demanded the $200,000+ per child per year spent on keeping children in prison and $60,000+ per child per year in foster care is urgently redirected to community development and family support programs under Aboriginal control.

RELATED ARTICLE
The facts about Indigenous youth detention in Australia
An ABC Four Corners report into the treatment of youth detainees in the Northern Territory showed images of juvenile detainees being gassed, choked and stripped naked in the Don Dale Juvenile Detention Centre.

Deb Swan, member of the GMAR NSW group is calling for all our children to get out of these institutions, and believes that whether it be with family and community services or juvenile justice the kids are being mistreated in institutionalised care, they should be put back together with family. 

"Our biggest fight is that kids shouldn't be removed but instead they should live with family, we know some children can't live with their parents but they shouldn't be taken away from their family and definitely not from the country that they live in, they should be finding family in their own community," she said.

Ms Swan admits the Prime Minister's swift response was good, but says that a Royal Commission is of little help. 

"All those recommendations that come from Royal Commissions generally sit on the selves and collect dust. A royal commission to me does not satisfy the fight we want to have, we want to bring the children home."

"A royal commission to me does not satisfy the fight we want to have, we want to bring the children home."

"This sort of abuse happens all over Australia, these kids have told people that they've been mistreated but nobody listens and it's not just the Northern Territory, kids in any juvenile justice are probably getting abused so this issue should be widely explored," she said.

 

Cold, hard facts about Indigenous youth detention in Australia:

  • Indigenous Australians account for less than 3 per cent of Australia's national population, but they make up more than half of all children in juvenile detention.
  • Aboriginal children are 28 times more likely to be in prison than non-Aboriginal children.
  • The number of Aboriginal children in "out of home care" is higher, with more being taken today than during the Stolen Generations of the 20th Century. 
  • The numbers of children in “out of home care” have increased 400% since Kevin Rudd’s “apology” to the Stolen Generations.