NT lagging on implementation of key Royal Commission recommendations for abuse survivors

14 December 2018
Lawyers for abuse survivors have called on the Northern Territory to prioritise legal reforms to improve access to justice, saying a year on from the Royal Commission’s final report the Territory had rated poorly against other states and territories in taking action on key recommendations made by the Commission.

Maurice Blackburn Northern Territory head of Abuse Law Jed McNamara said compared with other states including New South Wales (NSW), the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and Victoria it was evident that the Northern Territory still had considerable work to do to ensure the full suite of key legal reforms recommended by the Royal Commission were implemented.

“Unfortunately in our view the Northern Territory has made little progress in acting on a range of key legal reforms recommended by the Royal Commission, despite the Commission handing down its final report 12 months ago,” Mr McNamara said.

“The Northern Territory is considering and consulting on many reforms but much of this is still yet to translate to action and that’s why we have assigned a fail rating to the Territory for its efforts over the past 12 months.

“Like all states the Northern Territory has joined the national redress scheme and has lifted statutes of limitations which is welcome, but there are still many outstanding recommendations where the response from the Territory as to its intended actions remain unclear or where little has happened in terms of substantive reform.

“This includes not yet implementing penalties for failures to report child sexual abuse, not yet acting to abolish the Ellis defence and not yet making any strong progress towards introducing a non-delegable duty of care on organisations.

“States such as NSW, the ACT and Victoria have already implemented or are moving to implement many of these important reforms and the Northern Territory cannot afford to delay any longer in acting on these.

“We urge the Northern Territory to prioritise these reforms in 2019 in joining with NSW, the ACT and Victoria as a leader when it comes to increasing access to justice for abuse survivors,” he said.

A full scorecard on the progress states have made towards implementing key legal reforms recommended by the Royal Commission is attached.

View the scorecard by clicking here.

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