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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin Alcohol and other drugs knowledge centre Yarning Places

Speak out speak strong



The Speak out speak strong project was implemented as a result of concerns of the Aboriginal Justice Advisory Council that little qualitative information existed about Aboriginal women's imprisonment, and the increasing rate at which Aboriginal women are imprisoned in New South Wales (NSW).

The overall objectives of the Speak out speak strong project were to identify the causes for imprisonment of Aboriginal women, the experiences of Aboriginal women in the criminal justice system, and the needs of incarcerated women. The project consisted of two stages:

The report produced on the project includes information about:

The report highlights a number of significant issues for Aboriginal women in prison, not least of which being the connections between violence and sexual assault and drug use.

Abstract adapted from Closing the gap clearinghouse


Department of Justice, New South Wales
Parramatta Justice Precinct
160 Marsden Street
Locked Bag 5111
Parramatta NSW 2124
Ph: (02) 8688 7777
Fax: (02) 8688 7980

Related publications

Lawrie R (2003)

Speak out speak strong: researching the needs of Aboriginal women in custody.

Sydney: Aboriginal Justice Advisory Council

This report describes the Speak out speak strong project, which evolved in response to concerns about the increasing rate at which Aboriginal women are imprisoned in NSW and the lack of qualitative information about their experiences. The project was implemented in two stages: a comprehensive survey of 50 Aboriginal women imprisoned in NSW; and follow up narrative interviews with a small sample of participants. The report details the demographics of the women in custody, and their past experiences of abuse, drug and alcohol use, and separation from families. The report explores the women's interaction with the criminal justice system and their transition back to the community.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract


Last updated: 17 August 2015
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