Tuesday March 8th, 2022 is International Women’s Day and this year the theme is #BreakTheBias.
Imagine a gender equal world.
A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination.
A world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.
A world where difference is valued and celebrated.
Together we can forge women’s equality.
Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.
More than half of women in custody are mums.
To mark the occasion and do our part in helping to #BreakTheBias against mums in custody, we asked our Keeping Us Together team who work closely with mums to tell us what biases they witness and how they respond to these.
This is what they said:
Abbey, Keeping Us Together program, SHINE FOR KIDS
Kasey*, Keeping Us Together program, SHINE FOR KIDS
Cilla, Keeping Us Together program, SHINE FOR KIDS
Deana*, Keeping Us Together program, SHINE FOR KIDS
This International Women’s Day, we draw attention to the statistic that 54% of women report having at least one dependent child when they enter prison. We know that even short-term incarceration of a mother can lead to long-term removal of her children and barriers to reunification, and the experience of losing a parent like this can have a negative impact on a child’s whole life.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are disproportionately represented, making up one-third of Australia’s female prison population.
Women in prison are also very likely to have been victims of crime themselves with some estimates that as many as 98% have experienced trauma.
Australia needs to do better for women, our fastest-growing prison population, and their children.
There are no processes in place to consider and support dependent children upon their mother’s arrest. We urgently need a national approach to address this lack of process and support and to collect accurate data about children with a parent in custody, the invisible victims.