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Society supports Royal Commission into Abuse of Children in Detention

Law Society Northern Territory (Society) supports the Prime Minister’s calls for a royal commission into the abuse of juveniles in the Northern Territory corrections system.

Society president Mr Tass Liveris said, “Whilst the Society welcomes the overwhelming nation-wide response that the 4 Corners expose has provoked, these are not new issues. The Society, amongst other stakeholders, has long been drawing attention to the enormous crisis in juvenile detention in the Northern Territory and been calling for real and immediate action. Unfortunately, these calls have been largely ignored and the result is the shocking and deepening crisis in juvenile detention in the Northern Territory.”

Mr Liveris said, “The government should have closed Don Dale Youth Detention Centre years ago and acted on the16 recommendations of the January 2015 Vita report and reports from successive Children’s Commissioners. However, despite the alarming escalation of juvenile imprisonment rates, especially in the Indigenous community, the government has only ever responded in an ad hoc, band-aid way that has now been shown to have comprehensively failed the community.”

The Society:

1. Calls for the Royal Commission to have wide terms of reference, including an examination of the punitive juvenile detention system in the Northern Territory and the disproportionate imprisonment rates of juveniles, especially Indigenous juveniles.

2. Renews the calls for the immediate closure of Don Dale Youth Detention Centre and the construction of a purpose built juvenile detention facility.

3. Renews the calls for all NT youth detention centres to be adequate staffed with appropriately skilled and trained personnel.

4. Renews the calls for complete compliance with the recommendations previously made by Michael Vita and the Children’s Commissioner into the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre.

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