End Aboriginal deaths in custody - abolish the offence of public drunkenness

End Aboriginal deaths in custody - abolish the offence of public drunkenness

The Human Rights Law Centre is representing Tanya Day’s family at the coronial inquest into her death.

Tanya’s family is running a petition to change Victoria’s destructive public drunkenness laws and replace them with genuine community health alternatives to incarceration.

In December 2017, Tanya Day, a proud Yorta Yorta woman and a respected and much-loved member of the Aboriginal community in Victoria, was travelling by train to Melbourne. She was asleep when a V/Line worker decided she needed to be removed from the train and called Castlemaine police who arrested her for public drunkenness.

While in police custody in Castlemaine she fell and sustained injuries that claimed her life 17 days later.

The injury she sustained while in police custody should never have happened. It was the result of a litany of failures, beginning with the failure of successive Victorian governments to fully implement the recommendations of the 1991 Royal Commission Into Aboriginal Deaths In Custody.

Almost 30 years ago the Royal Commission Into Aboriginal Deaths In Custody recommended that all states and territories abolish the offence of public drunkenness and put in place genuine community-health alternatives to incarceration.

Victoria is one of only two states that have failed to do so.

Tanya Day should never have been in a police cell. Her family have been deprived of their mother, grandmother, sister and aunty, and the Aboriginal community has lost a respected advocate, who herself was supporting families of people who had died in custody.

Tanya Day’s family is calling on Premier Daniel Andrews and Attorney General Jill Hennessy to end deaths in custody by changing the law in Victoria.

Sign this petition to support the Day family’s call to abolish the offence of public drunkenness and create genuine community health alternatives to incarceration.