A Warning For Readers This Story Contains Triggering Topics Including Deaths In Custody, and Suicide.
There were 31 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths in custody from 2022-2023, the highest number of deaths since 1980.
The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC)’s deaths in custody 2022-23 report, analysed deaths in custody between the first of July 2022 to the 30th of June 2023.
The institute found that despite comprising of three per cent of the country’s population, First Nations people are over represented in deaths in custody.
The highest number of Indigenous deaths occurred in New South Wales and Queensland recording six deaths each, while five people died in Western Australia, three in Victoria and one in the Northern Territory.
Indigenous men accounted for over a quarter of deaths in custody (27 per cent) and made up 29 of the 31 deaths recorded over the period.
According to the report, of the 15 deaths available to study at the time, eight (53 per cent) deaths were due to natural causes, five (33 per cent) were due to hanging and related complications, and the remaining two (13 per cent) were unable to be determined.
AIC’s deputy director Dr Rick Brown has told The Guardian Australia, the institute remains committed to providing up to date data to reduce the number of First Nations deaths in police custody.
“Having timely and in-depth data is a key step towards informed early intervention and prevention strategies to reduce First Nations deaths in custody and improve justice outcomes.”
In the 32 years since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody there have been 354 deaths in police custody.
If this story has stirred up anything in you, 13 Yarn offers 24/7 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Counselling support on 13 92 76.