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Session 1: Hearing from young people

The day started by hearing from young people across the Northern Territory – an invitation to ground ourselves in their stories, their hopes and dreams, the challenges they face, and their ideas for change, as we move through the sessions.

Moderators: Andrew Lockyer, Be Ward and Kirsten Wilson, NAAJA Throughcare

An audio-visual collection of stories from young people across the Territory.

Session 2: Hearing from Elders

Elders from across the Northern Territory and other parts of the country share what they know works in caring for their kids. What keeps young people out of trouble? How should we respond when they do go down the wrong path, and what do they need to thrive?

Moderator: John Rawnsley, Manager, Law and Justice, NAAJA


  • Strong Grandmothers Group of the Central Desert Region

  • Serena Dalton, Founder, Grassroots Youth Engagement Palmerston

Session 3: The possibility and fragility of reform

Guests from the United States, Clinton Lacey and Candice Jones joined our Australian panelists, Cheryl Axleby and Phil Boulten SC to reflect on what it takes to transform a system. Successes and challenges shared by Clinton and Candice pursuing a radical reduction in the number of youth incarcerated in the US, provided an opportunity for reflection on the reform journey in Australia – 30 years on from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and five years since the announcement of the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the NT.

Moderator: Julie Edwards, CEO, Jesuit Social Services


  • Clinton Lacey, Credible Messenger Mentoring Movement (C3M) and former Director of the District of Columbia Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services

  • Candice C. Jones, CEO of the Public Welfare Foundation and former director of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice

  • Cheryl Axleby, Chair, Change the Record Coalition

  • Phil Boulten, Barrister and former Counsel assisting NAAJA in the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the NT

Session 4: Doing justice differently – what’s working and why?

This session takes a look at examples from Australia and New Zealand of better ways of doing justice. From early and holistic engagement with young people and families at the first signs of trouble, applications of restorative justice, respecting culture within the Court system, and empowering communities to determine responses to young people who offend, we unpack common elements of what works and why.

Moderator: Priscilla Atkins, CEO, North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA)


  • Muriel Bamblett, CEO, Victorian Aboriginal Childcare Agency (VACCA)

  • Craig Frean, Senior Practitioner, and Genevieve Higgins, Manager, Community Justice Programs, Jesuit Social Services

  • David Woodroffe, Principal Legal Officer, and Anna Gill, Regional Managing Solicitor, NAAJA

  • Judge Tony Fitzgerald, District Family and Youth Court Judge based in Auckland, New Zealand.

Session 5: Leading change from the ground up

Our final session offers an inspiring story of the change that can happen when communities come together to take action. Larrakia women Mililma May and Sharna Alley co-founded Uprising of the People, a Darwin based-grassroots organisation building the movement of Aboriginal and non Aboriginal people standing together against injustices in the Northern Territory. We conclude the day reflecting on the power of community and the importance of solidarity.

Moderator: Theresa Roe, Network Coordinator, Aboriginal Peak Organisations Northern Territory (APO NT)

Speakers: Mililma May and Sharna Alley, Co-founders, Uprising of the People