Peter O’Brien on Current Issues in Juvenile Justice

The Northern Territory is not alone when it comes to flagrant human rights abuses against some of the most vulnerable children in our community. Cases like Udin Sarfin’s and Saiful Baco’s illustrate the Commonwealth’s preparedness to put political expediency and populism before its concerns for basic civil liberties, including commitments under the United Nations Convention Read more about Peter O’Brien on Current Issues in Juvenile Justice[…]

Royal Commission finds sexual abuse rife in the Australian Defence Force

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse released its report into the Australian Defence Force (ADF) this week. The Commission’s discoveries are horrific. It found that at the institutions investigated, the HMAS Leeuwin, the Army Apprentice School in Balcombe and the ADF Cadets, child sexual abuse was widespread. These children wanted to Read more about Royal Commission finds sexual abuse rife in the Australian Defence Force[…]

Improper practices in youth detention: a national crisis?

In the wake of the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory, we have been heartened to see other State and Territory governments conduct reports into the conditions of their own juvenile detention centres. However, what has emerged from these reports are chilling stories of abuse, self-harm & the Read more about Improper practices in youth detention: a national crisis?[…]

Why Access to Justice is Access to a Lawyer

When you think of what ‘justice’ means, your mind may turn to a familiar image of a blindfolded lady holding scales. We trust that, like those scales suggest, a good criminal justice system will afford fairness to those accused of breaking the law, ‘blind’ to a defendant’s wealth, power or status. We know better than Read more about Why Access to Justice is Access to a Lawyer[…]

Victoria passes new legislation reversing onus of proof for child abuse matters

In recent days the Victorian government passed an Australian-first piece of legislation that signals a huge reform in how child abuse cases are to be prosecuted. Entitled the Wrongs Amendment (Organisational Child Abuse) Act 2017, it has the effect of reversing the onus of proof onto organisations accused of failing to prevent child abuse. This Read more about Victoria passes new legislation reversing onus of proof for child abuse matters[…]

Juvenile Justice Done Wrong, and How to Do It Right

Before the Northern Territory Royal Commission begins in October, let’s take a short breather to remind ourselves what it is we’re examining. Don Dale showed us the worst of what juvenile detention can be. Four Corners broadcast footage of children as young as thirteen being abused, assaulted and belittled. These children – denied opportunities and Read more about Juvenile Justice Done Wrong, and How to Do It Right[…]

Media, Misinformation and Punitiveness: The Unholy Trinity

Take a group, and split it into two. Each half is asked to comment on a case. The first group gets their information about the case from a newspaper. The second reads a summary of the court documents. You won’t find a better metaphor of the divide between the informed and the misinformed than this Read more about Media, Misinformation and Punitiveness: The Unholy Trinity[…]

New Police Powers Create New Scope for Abuse

New South Wales has never had full individual freedom – full freedom doesn’t exist anywhere, in any society. The trick of governance has always been to find the right balance between security and freedom. That balance is not something I can achieve in one short blog post; what I can do, though, is point the Read more about New Police Powers Create New Scope for Abuse[…]

The Politics of Fear (Part II: All Extremists are the Same)

With further counter-terrorism arrests carried out in Sydney this morning, I expect the same tired tensions bubble to the surface. Hiding behind the thin rhetoric of ‘national security’ and ‘Western values’, anti-Muslim campaigners will crawl out of their caves, blink a bit, projectile vomit some casual racism and then scurry away before the light of Read more about The Politics of Fear (Part II: All Extremists are the Same)[…]

Note on the Criminal Procedure Amendment (Domestic Violence Complaints) Act 2014

On 1 June 2015 the Criminal Procedure Amendment (Domestic Violence Complainants) Act 2014 (also known as the Domestic Violence Evidence in Chief Act) came into force. The new Act amended the Criminal Procedure Act 1986; the amendments can be found in Part 4B of the 1986 Act. The amendments allow police to take an audio Read more about Note on the Criminal Procedure Amendment (Domestic Violence Complaints) Act 2014[…]