By ERWIN CHLANDA
It seems a serious crime in our streets, where children were among the victims, remained unreported to both the police and to the children’s services of the NT Government.
We strongly believe the following occurred: A woman and her three young children were attacked by six to eight people in the Target carpark, Todd Mall, at 8.30pm on Saturday, April 7.
She received a wound, inflicted possibly with a knife, which required 14 stitches. Her son, in his mid-teens, was apparently stabbed, and a younger son had his jaw broken. Another child and the woman were bashed.
The attackers demanded money and were given $50. They tore a gold chain off the woman’s neck.
We received this information from two people linked to the woman, one of them closely.
Both informants were known previously to the News and we have no doubt about their reliability.
They spoke to the News on condition of not be named.
We know the woman’s name but we will not be publishing it.
The crime was not reported to the police, and we don’t know why not.
Neither was it to the Department of Family and Children’s Services (
One reason why the woman is keeping mum could be that the perpetrators threatened her with further violence if she reported them.
The question that needs to be answered, but has not been, is this: Why did the hospital not tell the police what happened?
Russell Goldflam, the president of the NT Criminal Lawyers Association, explains the obligations: “Although there is no general duty to report a crime, mandatory reporting of both domestic violence and child abuse applies in the Northern Territory.
“Under these laws, all adults (including medical staff) who reasonably believe that a child under 18 has suffered harm are legally obliged to report this as soon as possible to police or child protection authorities.”
The News put the following questions to the hospital’s media people, both here and in Darwin:-
Were the woman and her children treated in the hospital?
Why was a report to the police not made?
What is the hospital’s policy about reporting to the police injuries that clearly, or most likely, are the result of a crime?
We gave the hospital the woman’s name but assured them she and her children would not be identified in our report.
The hospital’s response, given by Bridget Wild, can only be described as bizarre. In summary this is what it was:-
No information can be given because the woman and her children are not in the hospital at present.
If they were current inpatients, the only information that would be given is whether their condition is serious or stable, or serious but stable.
The spokeswoman gave no answer about the policy regarding reports to the police because “we are not dealing in hypotheticals. We are not able to discuss it at all. We are not commenting on anything”.
By ERWIN CHLANDA