source: Aljazeera News
published: 2 December 2019
Melbourne, Australia – Vickie Roach was 12 the first time she was imprisoned.
Forty-eight years ago, in the early 1970s, she was arrested after running away from abusive foster homes and institutions.
“The morning after you arrive, you have to go see the doctor. They would examine you to see if you were pregnant or had STDs. And if you weren’t cooperative they would hold you down and do it,” said Roach, now 60.
For a young girl who had been sexually abused, this procedure was “traumatic”. But her contact with the criminal justice system in Australia began even earlier – when she was two.
Then, she was removed from her mother as part of the Stolen Generations, an era when Aboriginal children were taken from their families in order to be raised by white people in foster homes and institutions.
Under the law at the time, any child removed from their family first had to be charged with an offence. As such, many Aboriginal children like Roach had criminal records almost from birth.