A death sentence for swearing: the fatal consequences of the failure to decriminalise offensive language

Taylor & Francis
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Griffith Law Review, 2021, 29, (1), pp. 73-73
Issue Date:
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Several commissions of inquiry have recommended the reform or abolition of laws that criminalise the use of offensive language in Australia. These criminal offences have been linked to the over-policing and deaths in custody of Indigenous Australians. Australian state and territory governments have not only ignored these recommendations; they have also added new weapons to the police officer’s arsenal to control and punish swearing in public. Through an analysis of several case studies sourced from coronial inquiries and the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, this article argues that there is a need for urgent reform of laws that criminalise offensive language.
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