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Calls to stop criminalising disability after mentally ill Indigenous boy left ‘naked’ in watch house

By June 19, 2019No Comments

An incident involving an Indigenous boy with a disability who was allegedly stripped naked and held in an adult watch house in Queensland is symptomatic of a broader problem, say disability advocates.

Documents obtained by the ABC claim the boy – who has a neurodevelopmental disability and foetal alcohol spectrum disorder – was pinned down and stripped by officers after he expressed suicidal thoughts.

He was allegedly left naked in the Brisbane watch house for days after he refused to wear a tear-proof garment known as a suicide smock – though Queensland police dispute this account.

Damian Griffis, CEO of the First Peoples Disability Network, says the number of disabled, Indigenous youth in prison is on the rise.

“We’re seeing an increasing criminalisation of disability,” he told NITV News today.

“We’re getting reports of these situations happening all around the country, where young Aboriginal people with various impairments and disabilities are ending up in prison… they shouldn’t be there at all.

“This is a growing problem and one that all Australians should be deeply distressed by.

“It’s a disgraceful violation of human rights.”

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Source | NITV News