The mother of David Dungay, an Aboriginal man who died after being held face down by five Sydney prison guards, said it was a “slap in the face” that the public prosecutor would not investigate whether criminal offences might have been committed by the officers involved.
Aboriginal women who are fleeing domestic violence and find themselves homeless are reluctant to access support services for fear of losing their children to the foster care system, they said.
“It’s harder for women to get support these days,” the Women’s Legal Service’s First Nations community officer, Gail Thorne, said.
The Redfern Legal Centre lawyer Samantha Lee said it was common for Aboriginal women who call the police to report domestic violence to end up in custody themselves.
“The police then go to speak to the husband and they form the view that they are going to take the husband’s story and put that ahead of the woman’s story, and what they do is end up arresting the person who has called triple zero and place them into custody.
“One of the problems is [police] are quick to judge and usually they are very quick to judge First Nations people and women.”
The parliamentary inquiry has been set up to look into “the unacceptably high level” of Aboriginal people in custody, the suitability of the organisations that investigate deaths, and how they could be improved.