Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1990)
Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Tuesday 27 February 1990 victims of violence in the home. Members will be pleased to know that these recommendations are largely modelled on the Territory I s domestic violence legislation which was passed by the Assembly last year. Our legislation is the subject of ongoing review, and the Department of Law will examine the committee's recommendations which go beyond our legislation to see whether they are applicable to Territory conditions. The committee recommends also that police be trained to deal with domestic violence, something which the Territory has been doing for over a decade. Our level of training has increased dramatically in recent years, and members maY.recall that the new police college at Berrimah includes a facility built especially for this type of training. Another recommendation is that police should lay criminal charges in cases of domestic violence. I could not agree more, although it is difficult to obtain the necessary evidence. As our new domestic violence legislation recognises, the Territory police do lay criminal charges where sufficient evidence is obtained. The committee recommends that police policy on domestic violence be publicised. As members will be aware, a media advertiSing campaign is already in place. In addition, an excellent educational video on domestic vi 01 ence has been produced by the Women I s Advi sory Counc il in conj unct ion with the police. Another progressive recommendation of the National Committee on Violence is that police training should incorporate information on non-punitive options for dealing with youths. I am pleased to say that, for over a decade, the Territory police have been diverting young offenders by formally cautioning them. This approach is emphasised in police training and is supported by the school-based policing program which is aimed at creating a very positive relationship between the police and young people. The Territory also has a specific police youth diversion program which is now in its third year. Under this program, police obtain work experience placements for youngsters who have already gone off the rails. Another recommendation of the committee is the adoption of formal guidelines for questioning of youth by police. The Territory has actually had legislative guidelines since the Juvenile Justice Act was enacted in 1983. My government would welcome any move towards national uniformity in this area and I will be taking up the whole question of national uniformity in police standards and practices at forthcoming police ministerial council meetings. The committee recommends that governments initiate 'fear reduction ' programs. Fortunately, the Territory does not have the publ ic transport violence, gang violence and the other problems which cause considerable public anxiety- in some southern capitals. However, our Neighbourhood Watch and Safety House programs are directed partly towards reducing fear and the Cri me Vi ct i ms Advi sory Commi ttee, in conj unct i on wi th the soon-to-be-formed local 'Fight Crime ' committees, will examine the potential for further initiatives in this area. The committee makes a number of recommendations concerning police procedures, including the introduction of video recording of interviews with suspects. I am pleased to inform honourable members that Territory police have already completed their pilot program for audio and video recording of interviews. Starting in May, they will introduce video recording in the major centres for interviews relating to serious offences and they will extend this practice to all localities as resources permit. The committee suggests that police recruits should be educated about 8738
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