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Aboriginal woman died in custody at Melbourne's Sunshine Hospital

Rachael Knowles -

Please note: This story contains reference to someone who has died.

An Aboriginal woman died in custody in Victoria on Monday.

The 30-year-old woman passed away at Sunshine Hospital in Melbourne's west after being transferred to the facility from Dame Phyllis Frost Centre last week.

In a statement, Corrections Victoria noted that she passed away "surrounded by family members at the hospital".

"The death of any person in custody is a heartbreaking tragedy and the team at Corrections Victoria sends its deepest condolences to the woman's family," read the statement.

"We recognise that all deaths in custody have impacts on family members, friends, victims and the broader Aboriginal community, and we're working to ensure they are provided with the support they need."

Corrections noted that the Aboriginal Justice Caucus was advised of the woman's death and that Corrections staff were continuing to work alongside the Caucus and the First Peoples' Assembly of Victoria.

"Corrections Victoria has been providing support to the deceased woman's family to ensure culturally appropriate notification and grieving processes are followed," they said.

"We will continue to support the woman's family and consult with Caucus and community organisations.

"The women at the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre are also being supported and a Smoking Ceremony is being arranged."

Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service (VALS) is currently representing members of the woman's family.

"I am so tremendously sad for this woman, her family and community. No one should have to deal with this trauma," said VALS Acting CEO, George Selvanera.

"On behalf of the family, we ask everyone to give them space to grieve this loss. In time, there will be appropriate processes to examine what happened and the family will look for answers then."

The Victorian Coroner will formally investigate death, holding an initial direction hearing within 28-days.


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