There is a strong perception that the system of detention in the Northern Territory is failing.
It is failing our young people, it is failing those who work in the system and it is also failing the people of the Northern Territory who are entitled to live in safer communities.
This has been made clear to the Royal Commission and Board of Inquiry into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory since it was announced on 26 July 2016.
This Interim Report provides a summary of work to date. We are currently holding public hearings and will conduct further hearings over the coming months.
Royal Commissions often look to the past in their investigations. We are inquiring not only into the past, but also into systems that are in operation today – we are hearing evidence from people who are currently detained or working in these systems.
Despite the significance of much of the evidence received already, we will not be making specific findings or recommendations at this stage.
It is too early in our work, while hearings are ongoing, to be able to draw any final conclusions. The Commission is yet to hear evidence on many issues, including evidence from senior management and political leaders in charge of youth detention who provide a perspective that is necessary to inform the work of the Commission.
The Commission is also still to hold hearings on the child protection system which is a critical part of our work.
The youth justice and child protection systems in the Northern Territory are inextricably linked. Evidence before the Commission reveals that children and young people in out-of-home care are more likely to enter the youth detention system.
In the remaining period, the Commission’s attention will focus on child protection, including its link to detention.