In 2016 PIAC was engaged to represent the First Peoples Disability Network (Australia) (FPDN) before the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory.
Young Indigenous people are significantly over-represented in the child protection and youth justice systems, and we know that there is a high prevalence of physical, cognitive and psychosocial disability among the juvenile detention and prison population.
The FPDN is calling for the Royal Commission to consider systemic issues relating to the care of, and support for, children with disabilities and how these issues contribute to the high numbers of children in care and the cycle of detention of children in the Northern Territory.
Scott Avery, the FPDN Policy and Research Director, was called to give evidence at the Commission’s initial hearings in October and will give further evidence in 2017. Mr Avery’s evidence focused on the importance of ensuring that not only is the justice system is adequately equipped to recognise and respond to disability, but that children with disability have access to the social supports in the community that will help them avoid contact with the child protection and youth justice systems.