Death in police custody: Coronial inquest into the death of Yorta Yorta woman Tanya Day continues

Death in police custody: Coronial inquest into the death of Yorta Yorta woman Tanya Day continues

PRESS CONFERENCE
Who: The Family of Tanya Day and their lawyers from the Human Rights Law Centre
When: 9:30am, Tuesday 30 April, 2019
Where: Victorian Coroner's Court forecourt, 65 Kavanagh St, Southbank
Contact: Michelle Bennett: 0419 100 519

The third directions hearing into the tragic death in police custody of Yorta Yorta woman, Tanya Day, will be held on Tuesday 30 April.

Tanya Day died on 22 December 2017 from a brain haemorrhage after falling and hitting her head in the cells of the Castlemaine police station on 5 December 2017. Tanya Day was taken off a train and locked up by police for public drunkenness – an offence that the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and numerous subsequent reports recommended be abolished because of its dangerous and discriminatory impact.

The Human Rights Law Centre are representing the family of Tanya Day. On Tuesday, the Coroner will decide whether the coronial inquest will look at whether systemic racism played a role in Tanya Day’s death.

Newly obtained data shows that at the time of Tanya’s death, Aboriginal women were almost 10 times more likely to be targeted for being drunk in public than non-Indigenous women.

Tanya Day’s daughter, Belinda Stevens, said: “Our mum should have never been locked up. She was denied compassion, respect and dignity simply because she was Aboriginal. The Andrews Government must abolish the offence of public drunkenness and put an end to the targeting of Aboriginal people.”

Victoria is one of only two states that has not repealed the offence of public drunkenness. At the first directions hearing in December 2017, the Coroner took the unique step of foreshadowing that she will recommend the offence of public drunkenness be abolished. Despite this, the Andrews Government has still not committed to getting rid of the law.

A petition, set up by the Day family, calling on the Victorian Government to abolish the offence of public drunkenness, has already been signed by over 7,000 people.

Media contact:

Michelle Bennett, Director of Communications, Human Rights Law Centre, 0419 100 519