[Svrilist] NT defends efforts to tackle remote community violence

svrilist at mrc.ac.za svrilist at mrc.ac.za
Tue May 16 07:22:59 SAST 2006

Tuesday, 16 May 2006, 06:26:10  AEST
NT defends efforts to tackle remote community violence

The Northern Territory Government says slow progress is being made in the
fight against violence and sexual abuse in remote central Australian
Indigenous communities.

The Crown prosecutor for Central Australia last night revealed shocking
details of crimes against women in the communities.

Dr Nannette Rogers gave Lateline a harrowing account of small children and
babies being sexually assaulted.

Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough says more needs to be done
to combat alcohol and policing problems.

Northern Territory Chief Minister Clare Martin says her Government is
increasing police numbers but there are limitations.

"It is just not possible to have one police per community of, say, 50 -
that's a fact of life," she said.

Ms Martin did not see the program but praised Indigenous women for finally
speaking out.

National approach

Labor's Indigenous affairs spokesman Chris Evans says a national approach
is needed.

"The Northern Territory Government is struggling to address these issues,
they've got limited resources," he said.

He says alcohol abuse is one of the problems but employment, child
protection and education also need to be addressed."

NT Opposition Leader Jodeen Carney says the situation is not improving.

"Things are not getting better, they are getting worse," she said.

She says removing traditional law from consideration in court cases is one
measure that will help address the problems in the communities.

"What's happening in the Indigenous community is an outrage," she said.

"We as citizens should all be outraged by it.

"Customary law is an unconscionable mechanism by which the criminality of
violent Aboriginal men is reduced or excused, and it should therefore be
removed from the deliberation of courts in criminal proceedings."

Child protection advocate Charlie King says Ms Martin is misguided for
singling out Indigenous women.

"Women can't fix the problem, men can and I think that's where the root of
the problem is," he said.

He says nothing will improve while Indigenous men make up 80 per cent of
the Territory's prison population.

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