Change the Record

Smarter Justice, Safer Communities

The rates at which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are experiencing violence and being put in prison has reached a crisis point.

In the past 10 years we have seen an 88% increase in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people ending up in prison, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people now 13 times more likely to be imprisoned than non-Indigenous people.

That’s why in 2015 Oxfam Australia joined a host of Indigenous and non-Indigenous organisations to support the Change the Record campaign to reduce the high number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the criminal justice system.

Being placed in prison is all too common for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. But the impact of being in prison can be severe – not just for the individual but also for their family and the whole community.

At the same time, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – especially women and children – are experiencing increasing amounts of violence with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women 34 times more likely to be hospitalised as a result of family violence. This is devastating lives.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can change the record.

That’s why Oxfam is urging the Federal Government to show leadership and adopt the Change the Record Coalition’s ‘Blueprint for Change’ – a concrete plan for the Federal, State and Territory Governments put together by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous organisations to change the record on soaring Aboriginal imprisonment rates and high levels of violence. The Blueprint urges a whole of government strategy, a working partnership with Indigenous communities and targets to reduce the over-representation of Indigenous youth behind bars.

We need to invest in early intervention, prevention and diversion strategies. These are smarter solutions that increase safety, address the root causes of violence against women, cut reoffending and imprisonment rates, and build stronger and safer communities.

Many of the solutions are already there. Now we need to make it happen, and do so in a way that empowers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, communities and services to drive these solutions.

Together we can Change the Record. Together, we can build stronger and safer communities.