2019 Project Report

2016 marked 25 years since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody handed down its 339 recommendations aimed at addressing the disproportionate number of First Nations Peoples dying in custody across Australia. That year, the Law School, in partnership with Sisters Inside Inc, committed to a large-scale public interest research project to keep a watching brief on deaths in custody across the country, and to report regularly on the circumstances of their occurrence, and the recommendations for reform made by the coroners.

We soon realised that this information is difficult to access. There is no free, publicly accessible national database of coroners' inquest findings on deaths in custody. We decided to create one.

For the last two and a half years, teams of law students have worked on this project pro bono, for no academic credit or reward. Between them, they have read and analysed more than 500 publicly available coroners' inquest findings on deaths in custody across Australia.

The Deaths in Custody Project website will launch on 1 August 2018. Through our website, coroners' findings on deaths in custody can be searched for, and links to the fulltext decisions can be accessed. The Law School commits to maintaining this database, to shine a light on the circumstances in which deaths in custody occur, and the action that is, and is not, being taken by governments to implement coroners' recommendations.