Bringing them home and the contemporary criminalisation of Indigenous young people


When the ‘Bringing them home’ report was released in 1997, the focus was very much on the issue of the moral and legal responsibilities for past government policies of forced removal and their long-term effects. Little attention was paid to the substantial sections of the report which dealt with contemporary child protection and juvenile justice issues. As a result the recommendations relating to juvenile justice systems in Australia and the problems associated with high levels of criminalisation among Indigenous young people were largely ignored. This paper provides a brief overview of the last decade in relation to juvenile justice and Indigenous youth. It argues that while there have been some progressive changes these have been generally outweighed by a lack of thoroughgoing commitments to the fundamental reform envisaged by the report. In addition, more punitive approaches to public order and to bail have had particularly negative impacts on Indigenous young people.

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The copyright for this resource belongs to the Indigenous Law Centre, University of NSW. Inquiries about using or reproducing this resource should be directed to the publisher.