Advocacy

Women affected by the criminal justice system

At the Zonta Club of Sydney, we have a strong focus on advocacy for women, and particularly those who are or have been affected by the criminal justice system. Thanks to our advocacy committee for a brief update on some statistics, particularly around Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

In NSW between July 2017 and July 2018, Corrective Services statistics showed that a total of 2686 women were received into custody, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women.

Although there was no commensurate increase in crime between 2011 and 2017, the number of women held in NSW correctional centres rose by 50 per cent.  This growth is particularly significant for Aboriginal women, with their numbers rising by 74 per cent, compared with a 40 per cent growth in the number of non-Aboriginal women over the same time period.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people represent 3% of the total Australian population, yet more than 28% of Australia’s prison population are Aboriginal.

To date, there have been few culturally-based approaches and solutions to healing for Aboriginal women and their children.  Nelly’s Healing Centre, based in Camperdown, is addressing this problem by developing cultural and trauma informed approaches and solutions for Aboriginal women affected by the criminal justice system.  The Centre aims to empower healing and well-being for Aboriginal women and their families through holistic services which are inclusive and central to Aboriginal culture.  www.nellyshealing.com

As well, great success has been achieved with an Aboriginal community-led justice reinvestment program in Bourke that’s addressing the underlying causes of crime and has already delivered a saving of almost $3m with projections for an additional $7m over the next five years. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/nov/28/aboriginal-led-justice-project-saves-rural-town-almost-3m

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