The Dhadjowa Foundation is a national grassroots organisation providing strategic, ...
Impact AreaSupporting Indigenous Self-Determination
Year First Supported 2020
PUTTING AN END TO INDIGENOUS DEATHS IN CUSTODY
The Dhadjowa Foundation is a national grassroots organisation providing strategic, coordinated and culturally appropriate support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families whose loved ones have died in custody.
Almost 30 years on from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody in 1991, there have been at least 500 Black deaths in custody and not a single criminal conviction for those responsible. Families who experience the injustice of Black deaths in custody must deal with a whole range of procedural, media and campaigning issues, as well as legal decisions, at a time when they are still grieving and in shock. This creates great financial strain at an already difficult time. Families have to wait an average of three years for the coronial process, and that is just the beginning of their fight for justice. Often a family’s sole source of non-government support when going through this process comes from setting up an online crowdfunding campaign. Those not comfortable making a public plea for support face going it alone. In order to achieve institutional change, community-led infrastructure needs to be established so families can be supported to fulfil their potential as powerful advocates.
Families whose loved ones have died in custody have been leading the way for change to end this injustice since colonisation. Even without formal support systems, families have fundraised and secured pro bono legal, advocacy and campaigning support. Most significantly, the advocacy of these families is now leading to real change: Aunty Tanya Day’s family’s advocacy has recently resulted in a commitment from the Victorian Government to abolish the offence of public drunkenness. The Dhadjowa Foundation is now being established to leverage the current public support for this work and provide a coordinated approach to assisting families. Dhadjowa is providing families with peer support, financial assistance, and capacity building for campaigning.
UPDATED MARCH 2022
- Dhadjowa Foundation established in 2021, providing social infrastructure for community support.
- Public drunkenness laws that discriminated against Indigenous peoples decriminalised in Victoria in 2021, in response to pressure from Dhadjowa and the broader movement to stop Indigenous deaths in custody.
WHAT THE IMPACT FUND’S SUPPORT MEANS
“We are there for families from the moment of sorry business to coronial and court hearings… The Impact Fund has been there for us in the same way. It is that wraparound support that makes all the difference.” – Apryl Day, Founding Director, Dhadjowa
- 2020 ‘Reimagining Australia’ Large Grants round: $370,000 in seed funding
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