The Review of the Northern Territory Youth Justice System was delivered to the NT Attorney General in September 2011 and made public on 24 October 2011. The issue of Youth Justice has enjoyed particular focus in recent times with the NSW government commissioning a report in 2010, and the ACT government receiving its own review report in July 2011. As with the other reports, the NT review found the lack of coordinated youth focused policy and programs, involving both government and non-government sectors, had resulted in high rates of recidivism and young offenders being effectively treated as ‘little adults’.
DUAO - 2012 - Vol 37(1)
Developments around the country
DownUnderAllOver is a round-up of legal news from both State and federal jurisdictions, and contains topical articles and short pieces from Alternative Law Journal committees around the country.
A new aggravated animal cruelty offence is to be created in Queensland. The Queensland government has opted to create the offence under the Criminal Code (Qld), rather than the prevailing animal welfare legislation, the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 (Qld) (‘ACPA’). The new indictable offence, of ‘serious animal cruelty’, will carry a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment and will apply to ‘a person who unlawfully kills, seriously injures or causes an animal prolonged suffering and does so intending to inflict severe pain or suffering on the animal’.
The processes and scope for dealing with abuse between individuals changed significantly in South Australia in December 2011, with the repeal of the Domestic Violence Act 1994. Domestic and non-domestic abuse are now covered by the same piece of legislation, the Intervention Orders (Prevention of Abuse) Act 2009. Significantly, the type of behaviour from which a person can be protected by an intervention order (formerly a restraining order) has been extended to include physical injury; emotional or psychological harm; unreasonable and non-consensual denial of financial, social or personal autonomy; and damage to property. Intervention orders can be obtained irrespective of whether the parties are in a domestic or a non-domestic relationship. Further, police are now able to issue an interim intervention order themselves if the defendant is present or in custody.
The Tasmanian government is once again considering reform of the sex industry with the release earlier this year of the Regulation of the Sex Industry in Tasmania Discussion Paper. The discussion follows a review of the Sex Industry Offences Act 2005 and criticism by a number of key stakeholders that the Act has not been effective in protecting sex workers against exploitation. Specifically, the review found that the current model, in which brothels are illegal but working as a sex worker is not, was incompatible with the need to safeguard public health, prevent exploitation of minors and protect sex workers from violence and intimidation. Recommendations currently open for discussion; include decriminalisation, regulation or licensing of the industry. The Discussion Paper can be accessed at http://www.justice.tas.gov.au and submissions will be accepted until 9 March 2012.