There have been no Aboriginal deaths in police cell custody in NSW and ACT since the Custody Notification Service (CNS), a 24-hour legal advice and RU OK phone line began in 2000.
Two years ago we had to fight for funding, and now we're fighting again. The Australian government is not funding the CNS beyond 30 June 2015. The grant they provided in 2013 is coming to an end.
TIME IS RUNNING OUT.
WE NEED YOUR HELP TO KEEP THE CNS RUNNING!
Show how MASSIVE the support is for government to fund this service by signing this petition and keeping a vital service alive.
Every time our lawyers speak to an Aboriginal person being detained, they check upon the welfare of the person by asking RU OK? Often people aren't OK. Threats of self-harm or suicide are common. Our lawyers are skilled at hearing ideation or real threats of self-harm or suicide. The lawyer talks carefully with the person, notifies the Police, and the vulnerable person in custody is made safe.
The CNS is an extremely SUCCESSFUL program assisting vulnerable people with fair and equitable access to justice and welfare.
IT'S NOT JUST A PHONE LINE, IT'S A LIFELINE.
Funding for the CNS ceases on 30 June 2015.
The phone line costs nearly the same to operate as holding two juveniles in detention for one year - $526,000 per annum.
The ALS is urgently calling on the Australian government to fund this essential service. Incarceration rates are too high, and there have already been too many Aboriginal deaths in police cell custody in this country.
DID YOU KNOW:
The police must contact the ALS every time they take on an Aboriginal person into police custody. It was a recommendation from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and is now legislated under NSW law.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
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Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) started this petition with a single signature, and now has 50,395 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.