• Dr Hannah McGlade. (NITV/ Rangi Hirini)Source: NITV/ Rangi Hirini
New research has highlighted the differences in the treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women's and non-Indigenous women’s missing person’s cases.
Rangi Hirini

5 Feb 2020 - 12:37 PM  UPDATED 5 Feb 2020 - 4:37 PM

A new case study on women's deaths by Australian academics has highlighted the mistreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, and for the first time, linked the over-representation of Australian Indigenous women in missing persons reports to the issue of missing and murdered First Nations women internationally.

Noongar academic, Dr Hannah McGlade co-wrote ‘Indigenous Femicide and the Killing State’ which looks at Indigenous women’s deaths outside of custody including domestic violence incidents, missing person’s cases and hate crimes. 

“We bring to life the lives and stories of the women and girls who have gone missing and what the circumstances and the context of that,” Dr McGlade told NITV News.

“[Australia is ] a country that says we support human rights, we’re a member of the Human Rights Council and its really time for Australia to take this issue seriously and take the blinkers off and start valuing the lives of Aboriginal women and girls of this country."

In December, Labor MP Linda Burney called for a senate inquiry into missing Indigenous women following reports that Indigenous women are overrepresented in missing person cases across the country. 

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Lead researcher Professor Suvendrini Perera, from Curtin University, said the level of Indigenous women's death explored in the case study, which includes deaths on roads, beaches, homes, and rivers, "shocked" her. 

“One of the reasons why we put that case study out is because we wanted to inform the debate [and] we wanted it to inform conversations,” she said.

This is the first international case study that compares missing and murdered Indigenous Australian women to missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada and the US.

Last year, the Canadian government released their report from their national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and called the deaths a ‘genocide.’

The report said Indigenous women and girls were 12 times more likely to experience violence and seven times more likely to be killed than other women in Canada.

In Australia, Aboriginal women are 17 times more likely to die from homicide compared to non-Indigenous women.

Both Dr McGlade and Professor Perea are calling on the Australian Commonwealth government to follow in America and Canada’s lead and invest in protecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females.

“It’s really important that Australia takes this issue more seriously, we’re not addressing this violence,” Dr McGlade said.

“We’ll never be at peace while Aboriginal women and girls and Aboriginal people are denigrated and denied the proper rights of citizenship: we must do better, we have to do better."

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