Campaign update

On Friday, 16 December 2016, the coroner handed down her findings of the inquest into the death in custody of Ms Dhu and released some CCTV footage. This link will take you to the coroner's report.

On John Pat Day, 28 September 2016, the coroner heard submissions on the release of the CCTV footage and reserved her decision. Ms Dhu's family had applied for the footage to be released to the media.

The Deaths in Custody Watch Committee made submissions to the coroner on the CCTV application and at the close of the inquest. The coroner did not grant DICWC the status of an interested party at the inquest. Read the DICWC submissions.

The coronial inquest into the death of Ms Dhu began on Monday 23 November 2015 and was set to end on Friday 4 December but went overtime. The testimony of family, coronial investigators and health staff was heard in the first two weeks. The inquest resumed 14–24 March 2016 with police witnesses. Visit our blog for news reports during the inquest and search twitter with the hashtags #justice4msdhu, #MsDhu, #justiceforjulieka and #dhuDIC.

We continue to maintain pressure on the WA government and Premier Colin Barnett to take action and address the family's concerns. We demand that the state government immediately act to address the over-representation of Aboriginal people in the WA criminal justice system, in prisons and lockups.

The Deaths in Custody Watch Committee started its Justice for Ms Dhu campaign after the death in custody of 22-year-old Yamatji woman Ms Dhu in Port Hedland police station in August 2014. The premier met with the family of Ms Dhu in Port Hedland in April 2015 and arranged a visit to the police cell where their loved one passed.

The DICWC ran a crowd-funding campaign on Chuffed to support Ms Dhu's family during the coronial inquest. Thank you to everyone who donated - it is much appreciated!

You can still sign the petition to show your support for Ms Dhu's family. And keep reading and sharing the news stories about what happened to Ms Dhu. She will not be forgotten.


Campaign meetings

All meetings take place at the CSA Building, UnionsWA office, Level 4, 445 Hay St, Perth. Meetings will resume in the new year. Check our facebook page or email for updates.



'My granddaughter died in a cell begging for help. Please give us answers.'

She had broken ribs, bleeding on the lungs and was in excruciating pain. Locked up for days without proper medical attention over $1000 in unpaid fines – at just 22 years of age, my granddaughter died in her cell as a result of her injuries. She begged for help.

People who were there say the police were just laughing at her. Telling her to get up when she couldn’t, and just laughing at her. The other men in the cell heard her crying - people on the cells each side of her - they heard it all.

My granddaughter has just become another Aboriginal death in custody statistic in Western Australia. We are another family dealing with so much pain, yet are being given no answers to what happened to our beautiful Julieka.

Witnesses say she was begging for help, but was dismissed as a 'mental case' by officers. They laughed at her – and according to reports in The Australian, when our baby girl "got quiet" she was dragged across the floor by two police officers. They mocked her - stood around laughing.

The government or police officials won't tell me anything. We have been denied access to the autopsy. We're being left without any answers to my granddaughter's death.

Every time another person dies, police do their own internal report. Police officers that know each other, interview each other. In other countries like the UK, they have an external and independent person investigate – I don't know if the police did anything wrong, but how will I ever know if we don't have an open investigation?

I've been shocked at the silence from politicians. Tony Abbott hasn't said a word, Premier Barnett's comments make it seem like he's comfortable with Julieka's death to be forgotten. That she's just the latest in many fatalities of people in the government's care.

The number of deaths in custody are rising. I remember my parents talking about it. We need our politicians to take action. It has to stop. It brings shame on our country, and suffering to so many families.