Indigenous Law Bulletin 8(17)


This edition of the ILB has been made possible with the generous support of the National Children's and Youth Law Centre. The opportunity to collaborate together to shine a light on the rights of Indigenous children and young people has been greatly welcomed.

Of great concern and expressed throughout this special edition are the extremely high numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people living in out-of-home care arrangements. As demonstrated by research from Kyllie Cripps and Julian Laurens, and by Pip Martin from NAAJA, the rates of removal of Indigenous children are increasing significantly each year right around the country. Indigenous communities are rightly concerned about the loss of connection to family and culture that can occur in out-of-home care placements.

There are many Indigenous community controlled organisations, programs and solutions that are doing great work in supporting Indigenous children and families. As discussed by Emma Sydnenham and Holly Mason-White from SNAICC, it is important that these organisations are properly funded and well-resourced.

Concerned by the alarming levels of self-harm among children, the Human Rights Commission conducted a national investigation into this issue last year. The findings in relation to self-harm and help-seeking behaviours among Indigenous children and young people are discussed by national Commissioners, Megan Mitchell and Mick Gooda. In his Human Rights Day oration, Victorian Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People, Andrew Jackomos discussed his work in advocating for and protecting the rights of Koori children in Victoria.

Also in this edition, Sana Nakata examines how Indigenous children in Australia are represented in political debates; Clare Townsend, Janet Hammill and Paul White discuss why Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder should be officially recognised as a disability in Australia; and Terri Libesman and Hannah McGlade discuss redress and the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, in relation to Indigenous survivors of institutional abuse.

These articles raise important issues about the rights of our First Nations children. Some of the issues identified are confronting, but bringing together the issues, as well as the solutions, are vital to ensure that the specific rights of Indigenous children are realised in Australia.


Rebecca Gallegos

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