End the abuse of Aboriginal children. #CloseDonDaleNow.

End the abuse of Aboriginal children. #CloseDonDaleNow.

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Toni Childs started this petition to Anthony Albanese (Prime Minister of Australia) and

Right now there are over 30 children being held in the notorious Don Dale Youth Detention Centre, just outside of Darwin. Some of them are just 10 years old. Currently, all of them are Indigenous.

The conditions inside Don Dale are horrific. The situation is critical. A 2016 Royal Commission found the prison was “not fit for accommodating, let alone rehabilitating, children and young people” due to its “severe, prison-like and unhygienic conditions”.

Don Dale is a ‘pressure cooker’ environment, which has seen rates of self-harm and suicide attempts skyrocket in recent months. The stories of self-harm are too graphic to share here, but they are some of the most shocking things we have ever heard.

Chronic staff shortages and the ever-increasing number of child detainees mean that these kids are frequently subject to force and isolated in single cells for up to 23.5 hours per day.

Don Dale is not a purpose-built juvenile facility. It is actually the former Berrimah adult prison which was built in the 1970s and never intended for children. It was condemned in 2014 and deemed “only fit for a bulldozer” by the CEO of Correctional Services.

In 2016, ABC’s Four Corners exposed Don Dale as the site of shocking abuses of power over Aboriginal children, including unlawful isolation, gassing and, the notorious use of spit hoods, and the use of the infamous restraint chair that shocked the nation. The next morning, the prime minister announced a Royal Commission which recommended it be closed immediately.

Despite a promise by the NT government to close Don Dale and demolish the site, they have instead recently passed legislation to make it harder for young people to get bail and access diversion programs—therefore incarcerating more children than ever before. These kids are kept in maximum security settings originally used to house psychopathic killers, rapists and child sex offenders.

These vulnerable Aboriginal children must be given a proper chance to rehabilitate. We have a new Prime Minister, a new Minister for Indigenous Australians, and a new NT Chief Minister. Now is our chance to finally close Don Dale for good.

We are calling on the federal government to respond and take the urgent action the NT government refuses to take: close Don Dale and implement the Royal Commission’s recommendations.

Please, join us by signing and sharing this petition to demand the government #CloseDonDaleNOW.

Peace, Love and Deep Gratitude,
Toni Childs

This petition was started by recording artist and activist Toni Childs, in ongoing collaboration with Close Don Dale Now co-founders Donna Hunter, the grandmother of a former Don Dale youth detainee, and John B. Lawrence SC, a former Crown prosecutor in Darwin.

Close Don Dale Now (CDDN) comprises both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, including previous Don Dale detainees and their families, Elders and community members, professionals, experts, students and volunteers.

Lifeline 13 11 14 

Image via ABC

0 have signed. Let’s get to 25,000!
At 25,000 signatures, this petition becomes one of the top signed on Change.org!