LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Revelations the Gunner Labor Government have agreed to pay $35m in compensation to up to 1200 current or former youth detainees is a bitter pill for Territorians and victims of crime to swallow.
A detailed explanation by Government about the reasons behind the out-of-court settlement is required because of the consequences it could have on victims of crime.
There is very scant information available to the public with this settlement. If the Gunner Government had it their way, Territorians would never have found out about the $35m. It’s disgraceful that they wanted to hide this from Territorians.
Territorians and victims want to know if the Gunner Government is going to make the offenders who are awarded this compensation pay back their debt to society through victim levies or restitution.
Territorians will rightly expect offenders to pay their debt to society.
As of March there were 1674 victims who have applied for victims of crime compensation and the average wait they face is over three years.
Under questioning from the Opposition during Estimates Committee hearings, it was revealed only $100,000 in compensation had been recovered direct from offenders to pay victims over a period of nine months.
The 1200 youths eligible to apply for compensation were in prison for committing crimes, and while no-one should be mistreated in prison, victims will undoubtedly feel left behind by the Gunner Government once again.
Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
[I am commenting] following the announcement of a $35m settlement between the NT Government and children who were mistreated in its youth detention system.
We, and others who work with children in the Northern Territory every day, are deeply concerned by changes to the Bail Act that came into effect in May which have already condemned more children to detention when they should be supported in the community instead.
Three decades ago we had a Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and five years ago we had a Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory.
How many more Royal Commissions do we need before political leaders finally heed the advice of Elders, experts and people with lived experience and commit to reform that supports, not further harms, vulnerable children?
We, and the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA), are currently holding the 5th National Justice Symposium in Alice Springs to explore what successful youth justice reform looks like. The event coincides with the five year anniversary of the announcement of the NT Royal Commission.
Julie Edwards, CEO, Jesuit Social Services
Updated 5am July 29.