Indigenous Women and the RCIADIC - Part I
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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.
In 1991, the reports of two important public inquiries into the relationship between Indigenous people and the criminal justice system were published. The first, released in Australia on 15 April 1991, was the final national report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody ('RCIADIC').1 The second, released in Canada on 29 August 1991, was the report of the Public Inquiry into the Administration of] ustice and Aboriginal People (or as it is commonly known, the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry of Manitoba ('AJI')).2 Both reports were the result of lengthy and detailed investigations into the ways in which Australian and Canadian Indigenous people were treated by the correspondingjustice system, particularly the criminal justice system.