She is one of Australia’s leading advocates for protecting the human rights of women and children through decarceration – the process of moving away from using prisons in response to crime and social issues.
Ms Kilroy holds a Bachelor of Laws (2007) and a Master of Laws (2013) from QUT and has her own law firm where she draws on her lived experience, social work and legal training to provide accessible, high-quality services to her clients.
Ms Kilroy’s passion for the abolition of the prison industrial complex stems from her personal experience of the criminal justice system and time spent in youth and adult prisons.
On her release, Ms Kilroy set up Sisters Inside to advocate for criminalised women and girls’ human rights and fill gaps in the services available to them including connecting women with legal advice and representation.
Sisters Inside works to maintain the relationship between mothers and their children; provide anti-violence, sexual assault and trauma support; help children and young people affected by the criminal legal system and provide access to practical life necessities.
Sisters Inside particularly recognises the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls in Australian criminal legal systems, and actively works to include and empower First Nations women and girls at all levels of Sisters Inside.
Ms Kilroy has built alliances across a variety of sectors including media, politics and prison advocacy. This, coupled with Sisters Inside’s NGO Consultative Status at the United Nations, has enabled her continued and growing contribution to worldwide efforts to stem the tide of women and girls who are pipelined into prisons.
Ms Kilroy’s honours and awards in recognition of her achievements are extensive. She was awarded the Order of Australia in 2003 and the National Human Rights Medal in 2004.
A Churchill Fellowship in 2014 assisted her in exploring decarceration strategies and programs internationally.
How can you help?
The Sisters Inside Fund for Children supports children of women in the criminal justice system to choose their own future free of the burdens so commonly felt while their mother is in prison.
#Free Her Campaign
This campaign has been set up by Debbie Kilroy, CEO of Sisters Inside Inc. The funds raised will be used to release people from prison and pay warrants so they are not imprisoned.