Indigenous women and the RCIADIC : part I


In April 1991, the final national report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC) was released. This report was the result of a lengthy and detailed investigation into the ways in which Australian Indigenous people were treated by the justice system, particularly the criminal justice system. This paper is the first of a two-part article on the topic of the RCIADIC and Indigenous women. This part considers to what extent the ‘official’ RCIADIC reports (i.e. the national report and the regional reports) addressed the problems of Indigenous women. It uses data collected from a thematic and comparative content analysis of the official RCIADIC reports and texts prepared by Aboriginal Issues Units to consider the extent to which the RCIADIC reports considered problems concerning Indigenous women. In summary, aside from the topics of housing, offending patterns of Indigenous women, visiting family members in prison, and informing families of a death in custody and of post-death investigations, other problems which concerned Indigenous women were not reported in the official RCIADIC reports to the same extent as in the AIU texts. This was particularly apparent in relation to the topics of family violence, police treatment of Indigenous women, the importance of employing Indigenous women in various service roles, and birthing facilities. Part two of the article, which will appear in the next issue of the journal, explains why the inquiry itself did not focus more on the problems concerning Indigenous women. The explanation relies on interview data collected from 48 people who were associated with the inquiry.

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This document has been sourced from the Indigenous Law Bulletin, previously known as the Aboriginal Law Bulletin, database published on Austlii ( AustLII advises that it is not the copyright owner of the source documents published on AustLII and is not able to give permission for reproduction of those source documents (refer copyright policy disclaimer dated October 2010). Queries about copyright should be referred to the publisher - the Indigenous Law Centre and the University of New South Wales.