Territory Stories

Coroners Act In the matter of the Coroner's Findings and Recommendations regarding the death of Ms Wendy Murphy and Ms Natalie McCormack dated 14 March 2017



Coroners Act In the matter of the Coroner's Findings and Recommendations regarding the death of Ms Wendy Murphy and Ms Natalie McCormack dated 14 March 2017

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Tabled Paper 242


Tabled Papers for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020; Tabled Papers; ParliamentNT






Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory under Standing Order 240. Where copyright subsists with a third party it remains with the original owner and permission may be required to reuse the material.




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240. Denouncement in sentencing is generally seen as a very strong part of deterrence. It is evident in these cases that imprisonment in some Aboriginal communities does not lead to shame. 241. Indeed, there is significant evidence elsewhere suggesting that imprisonment may be seen as a 'rite of passage'. 242. Another of the issues noted by Ms Kerr was that DVOs were often engineered to keep people apart. Ms Kerr stated: "[M]ost DVO breaches by Aboriginal men and women are against current partners. This would seem to indicate that Aboriginal [partners] are less likely to separate as a result of intimate partner violence than non-Aboriginal [partners], or at least less likely to comply with conditions of DVOs than Non-Aboriginal offenders. The previous point is worthy of merit given that many NT Aboriginal people live in remote communities and have strong kinship and cultural ties. Given that Aboriginal [partners] tend to remain a couple and live in small communities, dealing with intimate partner violence as 'victim' and 'offender' using arrest and DVOs as the primary means of intervention seems unlikely to be effective as a primary strategy" 243. That is amplified by the fact that couples often drink together. As Ms Dominguez explained, drinking for many is not for social enjoyment. It is a need and in such cases orders are unlikely to be effective. 244. One of Ms Kerr's suggestions is that consideration be given to alternative intervention strategies to allow for a more flexible family and community focussed approach "that will both ensure the victim's safety and give the couple the choice to remain together or not". 245. A number of models were suggested such as the group decision making model (described by Pennell and Burford). The 'Sentencing Circles' (described by LaPrairie) and the restorative justice conferences based on the theory of re-integrative shaming (described by Braithwaite). 43

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