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SELECT COMMITTEE ON REGIONAL AND REMOTE INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES
21/05/2009
Effectiveness of state, territory and Commonwealth government policies on regional and remote Indigenous communities

CHAIR —I welcome you to this public hearing and ask you to announce your appearance.

Mr Kelly —My area of responsibility is the operation’s service in the Northern Territory Police Force, which covers all our uniform operation across the Northern Territory. I am representing the Commissioner of Police of the Northern Territory Police.

Mr Harris —I am the officer in charge of the Task Force Themis office, which is primarily tasked with dealing with all the intervention requirements.

CHAIR —Information on parliamentary privilege and the protection of witnesses and evidence has been provided to you. I now invite you to make an opening statement. At the conclusion of your remarks I will invite members of the committee to put questions to you.

Mr Kelly —I have been involved in the Northern Territory Police Force for just over 30 years now. I have worked in remote communities. I have worked in a range of roles as a police officer. The intervention in the Northern Territory has arrived at a point in time I believe that has generated an opportunity for the police force in the Northern Territory and for other agencies in the Northern Territory to be able to achieve a range of things to help our communities that we have been unable to do in the past.

From a police perspective we have police stations in communities where we have never had police stations. We have had an opportunity by locating those stations and those offices in particular places to achieve some outcomes that have been impossible for us in the past. The dynamics that we have been able to achieve by having more police in strategic locations has meant that we have been able to stem the flow of alcohol into some of the communities, in some cases in a fairly substantial way. It is also very clear that a lot of the communities where we now have police are much safer communities. The communities are very supportive of the police from our perspective. One of the issues that we are constantly faced with still in the Northern Territory is requests by communities who do not have a permanent police presence for police to be placed there in the same way as they have in other communities.

Although the Child Abuse Task Force was established prior to the intervention in Darwin and primarily dealt with issues around the top half of the Northern Territory, it has been significantly bolstered by the addition of investigators from the Australian Federal Police. It has achieved some significant inroads into the protection of kids in the communities. It is fair to say that the expectations of some people that police would start arresting people and throwing them in the trap within days of the task force being established were probably naïve to some degree and underestimate the nature of the crime that we are dealing with. It is a significant problem for us to get disclosures from children and it is a process that will take, in my view and based on the experience that I have in these sorts of things, many years before we will get to the stage where even some of the disclosures will be brought to us by victims.

I would say though that the presence of police and the active role that our Child Abuse Task Force and our partner agencies are taking are proving to be a benefit in a number of ways. One of the examples is the sort of work that is being done in communities to educate young people in protective behaviours and the sorts of things that the families can do. This is a significant area of work that does not show in arrest statistics, and there is quite a lot of work around those sorts of issues being done.

In our view the intervention has been a major success in a whole range of ways. There have been some difficulties. There are still difficulties that we are all faced with in terms of having the capacity here in the Northern Territory to do the things that need to be done, but I have to say that it is probably the best opportunity that we have ever seen for some things to happen that really needed to happen. The future in our view is quite positive.

CHAIR —One of the issues that you touched on is that there was an expectation that there would be a lot of arrests and there would suddenly be greater levels of protection. I think some of the principal criticisms of the intervention and those people who are fundamentally opposed to that say, ‘Well, where is the evidence? Where are all these people?’ Even with a different level of crime, that is the trafficking and smuggling of illicit substances into the communities or whether it is in fact sex abusers or those sorts of things, the common theme is that there is a special code of silence. There is a difficulty. I talk to people in the community and say, ‘Who brings in all the guns?’ ‘I know he is. Yeah, we know he is.’

We had some evidence yesterday in Katherine that they know that there are child abusers who are still there in the community and still active today, and there is a frustration about that. Again, from me, ‘Why aren’t you able to point that out? Why aren’t we able to do that?’ Could you comment generally on that cultural difficulty which I guess is probably a reasonable way to describe it? What efforts do you think can be made either in a legislative way or an educative way to try to start breaking down that barrier, because it seems to me without the support of the community it is going to be very difficult to move these people who are fundamentally responsible for many of the ills that face those communities?

Mr Kelly —Perhaps I can break that into a couple of segments? Firstly, what we are dealing with is an entrenched culture. I would make the point that it is not restricted just to Indigenous communities, but we are dealing with what is essentially a secretive crime in some respects, especially with child abuse. We are dealing with victims who are young and vulnerable. If I can use a for instance, about the middle of last year I spoke with a 34 year old Caucasian woman who grew up in Adelaide, who was well educated, came from a middle-class family, was sexually abused starting when she was about nine years old and it went on for some six or seven years. She first spoke about it when she was 28 or 30 years old and she did not tell the police until she was 34 or 36. What chance has an uneducated, young, Indigenous woman whose second language is English and who does not know there are services available to her? What chance has she got? Most importantly, I think it is fair to say that the sorts of things that we have discovered are that there is a culture in communities where parents shrug their shoulders and say, ‘Oh well, that is the way it is.’

We are dealing with a culture where some of the people in the community are the power brokers. For many years they have been able to hold sway over people through financial advantage, through threats and intimidation and through violence which is endemic in the communities. This is one of the concerns that we have that has been expressed to us by some people in communities. They have started to come forward now. What happens if the police get pulled out of the community? What happens to them then? These are real issues for some people. But what it says to us is: we are still grappling with that culture that we have to get over. The only way that you can do that is build trust, and that takes time. It takes a lot of time and it takes a lot of energy and a lot of skill from people from different agencies to get underneath some of those things.

I will give you an example of one community where we established a community action plan. Part of the process was to try to educate the community that it is not okay for this to happen. Teaching the kids in the schools; having the police go to the schools and spend time in the classrooms with the kids, talking to them about these issues; and having a sex assault counsellor travelling to the community two days a week and then ultimately three days a week and staying overnight for a couple of nights every week. It took 18 months running her beauty parlour with the girls and she got two disclosures, and we locked up the crooks. That had been going on for years. We had had major investigations in the community and we had had work plans in the community, but it took two years for those kids to speak up.

CHAIR —Is it reasonable to say then that because there are low levels of statistics against expectation you might say, ‘Well, how many have you locked up?’, and you can say, ‘Well, there is that many.’ Then you can go back and say that is not necessarily a reflection of the levels of this type of activity in the community?

Mr Kelly —It is not fair to say that; that is a fact. That is an absolute fact.

CHAIR —As to the trafficking aspect of it, as I speak to police officers on the beat around the territory, one of the frustrations seems to be—and I have to say having been pulled up myself a number of times and being very thoroughly searched I commend them again for their activity; they are everywhere—that the people are known to them and sometimes they are recidivists. They are the same blood tribes. There is a process I understand of winding it up. There is a first, second and third sort of strike before we start getting very serious about these things.

But there is certainly a frustration amongst the police officers that they are still dealing with people who have effectively attempted and been in the business of trafficking in substances that have been prohibited in the communities since the start of the intervention and they continue to attempt to do that now. Some of the suggestions that have been put to me, not necessarily by your officers but by a number of people in the community, that that will only change when they are—not so much jailed—somehow excluded from travelling to the community. That is the only thing that would impact upon them. I am not saying that as a suggestion, but do you think there are any other mechanisms that we can use as a disincentive for these same individuals, the handful of individuals, who are trafficking in this manner?

Mr Kelly —Let me say this: 27 years ago I was working in an Aboriginal community and I was one of the people who were doing the road blocks trying to stop the grog and the ganja. That was 27 years ago. Our police officers are still doing the same thing. There must be something fundamentally wrong if we have not made a dent in it yet. One of the things that I think it is fair to say is that exclusion is not the solution on its own. Jailing is not the solution on its own. Prohibition is not a solution on its own. What we are dealing with is an extremely complex issue. Again, I make the point that this is not an issue that is restricted to communities; it seems to be worse in communities because of the nature of what we are dealing with, but it is going to take a complex solution.

One of the things that we have to do is stop the supply that is just completely uncontrolled and is just out of control. While ever people have money and are ill with alcoholism, they are going to spend the money on alcohol. Some of the steps that have been taken in the intervention have been quite successful. You can see Indigenous women in supermarkets with trolleys full of groceries. That was almost unseen two years ago in terms of the women from out in the bush communities. Some of those things are happening. It is a strand in the complex net that has to be established. I think the intervention has put in place a lot of things that are contributing.

Rehabilitation services are something we just do not have at the levels that we need. We do not have a capacity, or have not had a capacity in the past, to even run basic anger management courses for people who are prisoners in jail for less than six months for domestic violence offences. These are the sorts of things that we need to start really thinking about and investing a lot of money and energy into so that the solutions are broad, cover a whole spectrum and deal with the whole range of issues but involve interventions and rehabilitation. Locking them up and throwing away the key is not a solution.

Senator CROSSIN —What is it then that you believe is needed to assist you to do your work in those communities? Do you need more sexual assault counsellors, for example; safe houses that are well resourced? What is it that we can do that will assist?

Mr Kelly —I think the first step to a significant degree has been taken; that is, that there are police present. Nothing is going to change if the community is not stabilised with a police presence where the community has some stability, if you like, some understanding that there are people there to help steer the ship and keep people safe. The next part of it is to identify the sorts of things that the communities need. One of the mistakes that is often made and has been made for as long as I have been up here is that one size does not fit all. We have two significant programs going, both of them aimed at alcohol reduction. Both of them took a couple of years to negotiate with the people. Both of them are significantly different. Both of them are very successful and neither of them would be able to be applied in the same way in the other community and be successful. That is the level of work that has to be done. It has to be quite individual.

Senator CROSSIN —Where would you say they are?

Mr Kelly —They are Nhulunbuy and Groote Eylandt. They are alcohol reduction programs. The Alice Springs experience is a variation on one of those. The issues have to be dealt with on a community by community basis probably, maybe on a small regional basis or even a cultural plan group basis. Community engagement is a significant component of it, and that is one of the things that even as police we acknowledge that we have not got as right as we could have, and we are doing a lot of work to try to develop a new business model in the communities that will involve us spending a lot more time talking to people and engaging them in crime reductions and developing community action plans for crime and alcohol. Whatever is done has to be done on a community basis and it has to be done in a collaborative way with the people who live there.

The services that need to be provided are those ones that first of all protect people and start to teach them what the societal norms are and should be in terms of the behaviours that are now in many communities not necessarily accepted but are just the way things are. There is a lot of work that has to go around that. There is an education process that needs to be there, but it needs services and people, good practitioners, to be able to deliver that sort of education. Then there are the services themselves. Some of the people that we are dealing with in these communities are repeat victims. Some of them are traumatised and have been repeatedly victimised. There is a lot of work that needs to be done to seek out those people and provide the services that they need to help them move on. Then there are the programs that we need for the offenders. We have to accept that you cannot just lock people away. That is a solution and it gives the community respite and it has a punitive effect to a degree, and that is appropriate, but there is a whole range of other things that need to be done. Services need to be provided so that people can get that intervention work and assistance from social workers.

I use an example of Wadeye and the community building, the glue that holds the community together. Wadeye was a difficult community and it always has been. Enormous amounts of money were spent out there. There were new clinics, new schools, more teachers, more nurses, more police, and lots of houses and then we are still having riots. The question has to be asked: what is wrong? The answer to that is what is wrong is that we put a whole lot of assets out there but what has got the community together in a way that they are taking responsibility for their community and they are proud of their community and it is the glue that holds them all together and makes all of those assets worthwhile? In some cases that is what is missing. We are not doing enough work in that area.

Senator CROSSIN —I do not know what your perspective is but this year I certainly felt that out at Wadeye the football competition where for starters they have eight to 10 teams playing AFL to the point where they got to the grand final, and I think with minimal disruption throughout the competition, was a significant milestone for that community.

Mr Kelly —Absolutely. One of the things that you might know is that we established out there what we called a tasking and coordination group chaired by the superintendent of police from Katherine, who flies out there on a monthly basis and meets with all of the people from all of the different agencies. That group specifically has between seven and 12 of the actual owners for the country that that community is on. They are empowered to have a strong say in what happens on their land despite the fact that it is made up of so many other people who actually live there. Plans have been put in place to try to develop the capacity for those old men and women to have a stronger say in what is going on and a say in how people behave on their country. So it is a reinforcement of their culture. That is what we have put in place in an effort to get some of that glue happening.

I have to say that in my meetings out there before that was established there had been a funded position out there for a sports coordinator that had not been able to be filled. When it was filled, they had not been able to get the traction because the community was still a little bit unsettled and disrupted. I talk to the sergeant out there. Twelve months ago he was ready to move out, looking for somewhere else, but now he is just to the stage where he is keen to stay there for a longer period of time because he feels as though the community has turned the corner.

Senator CROSSIN —Commander Harris, I want to touch on the Themis task force and its integration with the Australian Federal Police and the Northern Territory Police Force. Also have you any experience in the cross-border unit that has been established?

Mr Harris —Since the intervention started, initially we were dealing primarily with interstate police forces from other jurisdictions, VicPol, New South Wales, et cetera. That phased out around about July last year and we have been dealing with all AFP officers. I work very closely in our operations centre in the NAB building with the command element of the AFP. They are responsible for oversighting any issues that they have to deal with from an AFP perspective. AFP officers are all sworn in as Northern Territory police special constables, so in effect they come in under our command. Obviously they are still AFP officers. At the end of the day they have their home jurisdiction so at the end of the day there has to be a strong working relationship between the two organisations.

I can say that it has been a very strong, rewarding relationship. From my point of view it has actually worked very well. Despite our many differences in the way we do business, the professionalism of the AFP and my home jurisdiction I think comes out and it has shown in how we have managed to pull together and deal with the issues as they come up on a case-by-case basis and get the job done. In short, the working relationship between the AFP and the NT police has been very good. From a cross-border perspective, no I do not have a great deal to do with that—

Senator CROSSIN —That new initiative between NT, SA and WA—

Mr Kelly —I can speak to that. It is an area that we have been very strong in. As you know, we have the substance abuse intelligence desk in Alice Springs and the dog operations unit which are funded by the Commonwealth, or at least one of the dogs is. We fund one of them. That has been so successful and has achieved such significant results over a period of time that we were very keen to engage with the Commonwealth again in the same way. We have replicated that in Katherine. It is a relatively new unit there, but already they are starting to kick some goals in terms of interdicting not only cannabis but kava into the East Arnhem region.

Senator CROSSIN —You may not be able to answer this question but do you have any thoughts about the funding of the Australian Crime Commission for the next couple of years and how that fits in with your operations and what you are trying to achieve?

Mr Kelly —The Australian Crime Commission actually has a really significant intelligence role. One of the things that they are able to do is take intelligence that we receive and value add to it not only from the point of view of other information that they might have received themselves but also because of their access to a range of intelligence sources around Australia. I can give an example. For instance, with what are starting to be referred to as the carpetbaggers in the Aboriginal art area, we provided some information about one of those people we had some concerns about and the Crime Commission was able to provide us with a brief which was quite comprehensive about some other involvements in another state. As well as that they have an increased capacity that we do not have to draw a lot of information together and to give us some cohesive reports about the sorts of things that they see are going on.

Senator CROSSIN —Are they working across the territory or just in Central Australia?

Mr Kelly —No, they are not only in Central Australia and the territory and the top end, they actually have a brief across remote areas.

Senator CROSSIN —I guess I am talking about the little unit that has been funded to operate. There is no such unit. They have just been given money to extensively work in the territory then; is that right?

Mr Kelly —Yes, they are based in the Northern Territory, in Alice Springs. We actually saw that as a positive thing and pushed for that in the first instance because they were central and they were in the heart of Australia in the remote areas. Alice Springs provides services to a very big part of Central Australia, not just in the NT, so they were ideally located. But they also work in the top end of Western Australia. There is an office in Darwin here that has a couple of officers who are working to the Indigenous Intelligence Unit as well, so they have quite a wide brief.

In terms of the future, one of the things that we would like to see—and this is a subject that has been raised as a possibility—is a replication of our substance abuse team in a way that deals with violent crime, primarily family violence, that uses the intelligence model similar to the substance abuse intelligence desk and operates in that tri-state area as well to try to develop the intelligence about some of the things that are going on down there and devoted to that particular task and then supported by investigators and action plans out of Alice Springs to wrap up crooks. We see that as something that we should be doing in the future and we think we will use a bit of the information that we have got from the Australian Crime Commission and of course develop the stuff from our knowledge and take it forward.

Senator ADAMS —I would like to come back to the child protection issue. I hate the term ‘child abuse’ because I think it is really quite severe. I am from Western Australia so ‘child protection’ is probably the term that we use over there. I noticed yesterday when we were in Katherine that you have a number of female officers and they are obviously working out in the communities. Now there is a police presence in the communities are the women coming forward and trusting you enough now to come forward and talk about things that have been going on? Have you noticed that more recently?

Mr Kelly —We have had a lot more information being brought forward to us. Having policewomen in communities is a new thing for us. It is only in the mid-90s that we first started getting women interested in going out to the bush communities. It has been a bit of a push for us to encourage people to go. It is interesting though that we have probably got proportionally the highest number of women in our organisation and certainly the highest number of women in that senior rank in the territory compared to other jurisdictions, which we are pretty proud of, as you might have gathered.

It is fair to say that the women in communities really do like to have a woman in the communities that they can talk to. I have had people to say to me at meetings in communities that when this policewoman goes they want another policewoman to come back there. I have had delegations who have tried to impress upon me that it is most important that a woman is stationed out in the community, but at the moment we are just not able to do that. We need to come up with alternative strategies of having women who visit and start building a rapport with people in the community. That is just something that we are going to have to figure out how to do in the future. But, yes, it is very evident that if there are women police around who spend the time with the communities the women in the communities are very willing to come forward on a whole range of issues.

Senator ADAMS —When we were visiting Balgo they had the two police plus a children protection officer working from the police station. Do you have anything like that here with your other agencies?

Mr Kelly —We do not have other agencies co-located in communities. We have other agencies co-located with our Child Abuse Task Force teams—that includes family and children—and we have a network of people who sit in a supervisory group from housing, education and so on so that they have got those connections. The CAT people and our police officers, both AFP and Northern Territory police officers in the team, work together with each other on cases. They go out to communities together and work together on cases as part of the procedures that they have adopted. It is a very effective way of going about it.

We have also got the Peace at Home project in Katherine which deals with family violence, primarily the domestic violence type things between spouses, but it also includes the effects on the children. That is a multi-agency group. As part of their operating procedures they have also roped in all of the non-government agencies that provide services to those clients in different ways. They case manage the entire family to get them back on track, get the kids back in school, get them into rehab-type processes and make sure that their medical needs are looked after—just the whole shooting match. It is quite a successful process. I have to say we pinched a few of the ideas from the WA police.

Senator ADAMS —Just talking to people in the community and several of the others, it just seems that they really accept, once again, a female being in the community, but having the back-up of the two police officers.

Mr Kelly —Yes.

Senator ADAMS —Coming back to the intervention, the scare tactics that arose firstly and NORFORCE and the police coming in, could you comment on that and also how that has changed your presence when you go out? Are you still getting the same type of skulduggery to try to scare people?

Mr Kelly —No, we have not still got it going on. To a significant degree we did not have to worry about it so much because we are already reasonably well known. One of the interesting things that occurred in Mutitjulu, for example, was the people out there had a welcoming ceremony for everybody going out there for the first time. This was the first community that had the survey-type stuff done on it. They insisted that a Northern Territory police office actually be the person to bring everybody in to introduce to the community as part of that welcoming ceremony.

I think that was a significant signal of trust that the community had with the NT police. I have to say that we were also told that had it not been for the local police officers they would not even have got into Kintore because of some of the skulduggery, as you have described it. To our way of thinking that was illustrative of the fact that there were a lot of people who had an interest in their communities not coming under the microscope. This is something that I know has caused a lot of anxiety in communities and a lot of anger in some of the communities where community people felt as though they were all branded in the same way. That generated a fair bit of anger as well.

I think over time a lot of that has gone. There is still some of it around. And I think some of the anger and some of the hurt is legitimate. The reasons why people feel that way are legitimate. I think the community engagement approach that is being pushed across all of the government agencies at both tiers of government will go some way towards addressing those things. In fact it is one of the drivers for us to change our business in bush communities.

Senator ADAMS —We discussed with several witnesses this morning why community work orders are not used more. With people just having to go into jail for a minor offence, why is it that the territory does not seem to use a community work order?

Mr Kelly —There is no capacity in the communities to supervise them, and that has always been the case. I can relate a story of a police officer who took the bit between the teeth, contrary to all the rules, and undertook to do the supervision himself in the community. He provided boots, gloves and rakes and what-have-you and organised a work team with all the people. He ticked them off, picked them up in the morning, provided them with lunch and dropped them off at home in the afternoon but they did an eight-hour day’s work and they got signed off by him in the community. There was no-one else in the community to do it.

Senator MOORE —And no-one absconded?

Mr Kelly —Never.

Senator MOORE —Did he keep his job?

Mr Kelly —You have to get to the stage where you turn around and recognise the good work that people do in communities and the things that they achieve with nothing.

Senator MOORE —Absolutely.

Senator SIEWERT —I just want to go back to this issue of the skulduggery and the community engagement issue. One of the key recommendations of the Little children are sacred report was in fact community engagement. When you have been living in a community for a significant period of time and you have been an upstanding citizen and have pension income support, wouldn’t you get upset if the government came in and said—do not forget when the announcement was first made it was going to be compulsory that every child be checked—‘We are now going to compulsorily quarantine your income and we are going to come and take your land.’ Would you not also be upset when that was in fact quite contrary to the principles of good community engagement?

Mr Kelly —As I said, there were a lot of things that were done early in the piece that were quite contrary to a lot of the rules that you would see as good practice. That said, as a member of the police force here I happen to be a person who has seen a lot of things and felt that something drastic was really needed, and it was drastic.

Senator SIEWERT —You said at the beginning of this discussion—and I absolutely understand the reasons—that you have not made these spectacular arrests. There have not been a significant number of people apprehended yet for the reasons that you put forward. Going in with that very dramatic approach in the beginning did in fact—some people think—set back the process of the intervention in terms of community engagement because you had to overcome that distrust. There are issues around and I have heard the stories; in fact we heard this morning where people are concerned about small things, people being arrested for traffic offences and things like that. But on the whole there is very strong support for police going into communities. We have heard overwhelming support. It is not about the police going into communities, it was the approach that was taken that people are upset about.

You have also talked about and we have heard repeatedly about the need for more resources for rehab, community engagement and things. A lot of the concerns that people are raising are about the direction that was taken in that original approach and the way some of the money is being spent and thinking it could be better directed. It is not a case of skulduggery. I know that was not your term; it was Senator’s Adam’s term. I am not having a go at Senator Adams, either. But I think ‘skulduggery’ is a pretty strong word to say when people were genuinely concerned about the approach that was taken. If you had the army coming into your town you would feel a bit intimated.

Mr Kelly —I think the issue there was communication and engagement. The Army were doing nothing more than providing logistical support for a team of people who were coming to provide some services. Yes, people were upset and I did make the point that they were legitimately upset about a range of things, and some people were entitled to feel that way, but something had to happen. The problem that existed here in the territory has been an ongoing and festering problem for a long time and it needed something to make the change, to put it on the national agenda, to get somebody to do something.

Senator SIEWERT —I think we may continue to disagree about the approach that was taken. I do not disagree that something was needed. I just disagree with the approach.

Mr Kelly —I am not making any comment about the approach that was taken.

Senator SIEWERT —As to the number of people who have now been charged, we were told this morning by the NT Legal Aid Commission that there has been an increase in the number of non-Aboriginal people charged with child abuse offences and there has been an increase in the number of non-Aboriginal children being taken into care. I do not think we have had an accurate picture of the number of Indigenous offenders because the commission said that they deal mainly with non-Indigenous offenders because NAAJA’s clients are largely Indigenous. Could you give us an overall picture of how many people have been charged and break it down to Indigenous and non-Indigenous. Are you able to do that?

Mr Kelly —The CAT team in the northern half have made 43 arrests with three summons files, 22 Indigenous and19 non-Indigenous accused persons.

Senator SIEWERT —Did you say that was the northern team?

Mr Kelly —That is the northern team.

Senator MOORE —Where does that cover?

Mr Kelly —Pretty much from about half-way between Katherine and Elliot.

Senator MOORE —It keeps Katherine in the northern team.

Mr Kelly —Yes. CAT southern has 17 arrests, five summons files and three youths diverted through the youth diversion process.

Senator SIEWERT —For the southern team, how many are Indigenous and how many are non-Indigenous?

Mr Kelly —I do not have the southern Indigenous to non-Indigenous break-up?

Senator SIEWERT —Are you able to take that on notice, please?

Mr Kelly —I can, yes.

Senator SIEWERT —The arrests are over what time period?

Mr Kelly —That is over the time since June 2006, when the CAT team started.

Senator SIEWERT —Maybe you could take this question on notice because I am aware that we are way over time? We were talking about programs of community engagement, counselling and support. Are you aware of programs in the NT that are working with perpetrators as victims? We did talk about this morning and it is an issue that I have been following up for a long time, that is that a very, very high percentage of perpetrators are victims.

Mr Kelly —That is correct.

Senator SIEWERT —I have a bit of a bone to pick with the WA government because the WA government has just cancelled a very important program that works with male perpetrators that are victims. Is there a program in the NT that addresses those issues?

Mr Kelly —It is a question probably better directed to health, family and children, but what I can tell you is that this is an issue that we have had to deal with and I know that the counsellors who were involved in the investigation were working with the offenders on the basis that they were also victims and they were taking steps in that regard.

Senator SIEWERT —If there is any information that you do have I would really appreciate it if you could take that on notice and I will keep following it up with families.

CHAIR —I suspect there will be a number of questions on notice that will be provided to you by the secretariat. I thank you both for coming this afternoon and providing evidence.

[3.50 pm]