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International human rights organisation Sisters Inside will stand with First Nations’ leaders in Gimuy (Cairns) this week to demand the Government stop destroying vulnerable children’s lives.

Sisters Inside CEO Debbie Kilroy OAM said the Government’s youth crime agenda had to be overturned.

“We are on a slippery slope to legislating the kind of policing we are seeing elsewhere in the world that has horrified us – the kind of policing that targets First Nations’ youth,” Ms Kilroy said.

Ms Kilroy, who will arrive in Gimuy later this week, said Sisters Inside supported community calls for the abolition of plans to build two new prisons for children as well as the rescinding of recent legislative changes to bail and sentencing acts.

“These are dangerous legislative changes,” Ms Kilroy said.

“Charging 66 children with more than 200 offences is gut-wrenching. Setting up a task force with the intention of operating police patrols in ‘hot spot areas’ and instigating bail compliance checks has all the hallmarks of racialised and class based targeted responses.”

Ms Kilroy said Sisters Inside would be meeting with community members in Gimuy to “strategically formulate preventative and responsive action plans that will ensure criminalised children are supported by people who understand their lived experience, have capacity to build relationships and work alongside vulnerable children who are at risk, now more than ever of being targeted and criminalised by police.”

Ms Kilroy said many programs and groups in Gimuy already support criminalised and vulnerable First Nations children including Deadly Inspiring Youth Doing Good and Club Fight Back (Yarrabah).

“These organisations are engaging with youth who have been heavily impacted by these new changes in their community,” Ms Kilroy.

“Many of these groups and NGO’s work with limited resources but have achieved incredible outcomes creating culturally safe frameworks that build relationships to overcome the barriers indicated to being criminalised.”

“We are calling on the Government to resource these organisations and groups that work directly with the children that the Government and police have intentionally targeted.”

“To create safer communities we must invest in communities so they are resourced to be safe places.”

Ms Kilroy said community and family based systems created pathways towards safer communities for decades to come.

“We wish to empower communities because these organisations are the solution to the problem, not prisons or police,” she said.

Sisters Inside is an independent community organisation based in Queensland which advocates for the collective human rights of women and children in prison, and their families and provides services to address their individual needs.

Learn more about Sisters Inside here: sistersinside.com.au

Debbie Kilroy: 0419 762 474

How can you help?

The Sisters Inside Fund for Children supports children of women in the criminal justice system to choose their own future free of the burdens so commonly felt while their mother is in prison.

#Free Her Campaign

This campaign has been set up by Debbie Kilroy, CEO of Sisters Inside Inc.  The funds raised will be used to release people from prison and pay warrants so they are not imprisoned.