• Voices – Girls in detention, is a project which aims to highlight childrens experience in detention and child protection systems. (NITV News)Source: NITV News
Voices – Girls in detention showcase paintings by six young girls from the Don Dale Detention Centre expressing their feelings about detention, separation from their family, kin, and their hopes of returning home.
Laura Morelli

11 Oct 2017 - 5:11 PM  UPDATED 11 Oct 2017 - 5:11 PM

The Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory has released a series of art works created by young girls from the Don Dale Detention Centre.

These paintings provide insight into the lives of girls in detention. Their accompanying statements express their raw, honest feelings about experiencing life in detention and or protection systems.

As the next generation is the way of the future, It is imperative that young people are able to voice their feelings and be heard. Indigenous culture celebrates sharing stories through different mediums such as language, dance, arts, and ceremonies. Through these pieces, the young girls are able to provide a deeper, more contextually enhanced understanding of the challenges faced by disadvantaged Indigenous children in the Northern Territory. 

Official Secretary Kirsty Windeyer says on International Day of the Girl it is "appropriate to release these stories, told through art, of girls in the detention system".

“These paintings by girls in Don Dale Youth Detention Centre are just one of the many ways children and young people have shared with the Commission their experiences and stories, helping the Commission form a clear understanding of the issues affecting them”, said Ms Windeyer



"This is growth, people growing as a person, all the different races together. It’s ok to be together. You don’t have to be blood to be family. You don’t have to be blood to be connected. We are all one and can bring different things together. Turtles swim free. Until they get eaten."



"It’s a message for me. The painting is about me being in Don Dale and wanting to get out."



Thinking about my Dad, I used to watch him paint and when I paint I think of him. The turtles represent all my siblings. Little turtles represent my younger siblings. Bigger turtles represent myself and my older siblings.



"When I started the painting all I kept thinking of was home. Makes me wanna go back home."



"The waterfalls remind me of my grandfather’s country, where the water is so blue. It reminds me of family. The serpent is the creator."



"Not afraid to show my colours. Proud to be Indigenous."


Today marks the International Day of the Girl Child. Since 2012, 11 October aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls' empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.

The world’s 1.1 billion girls are a source of power, energy, and creativity – and the millions of girls in emergencies are no exception. This year’s International Day of the Girl marks the beginning of a year-long effort to spur global attention and action to the challenges and opportunities girls face before, during, and after crises.

EmPOWER Girls: Before, during and after crises

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