Friday, 10 October 2008

NT intervention blamed for man's suicide

The family of a Northern Territory man who killed himself two months ago has blamed the federal intervention for his death.

The Indigenous man in his early twenties was charged with carnal knowledge over his relationship with a girl in her mid-teens who was his promised wife.

He was taken into custody when he breached his bail conditions that he not go near the girl, and killed himself after escaping.

The federal police officers on duty had arrived only days earlier under the intervention, and the man's aunty said his death could have been avoided if they'd gone to the community's elders for help.

"They didn't know anyone. They didn't know who to go to. They were new.

"But to save that boy they could have run to the elders to go and get him."

Glen Dooley from the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency has described the death as an avoidable tragedy.

He it was the result of misguided federal policies.

"The government thought there we paedophiles out in the communities and that the intervention would be about flushing them out and protecting kids.

"The reality of what's happened is that such paedophiles have not been found and what police have come across are examples of young men basically having sex with their teenage girlfriends."

Mr Dooley says police should be targeting relationships where there's a bigger age difference.

"When you've got police at loose and at large throughout the Territory now looking to hunt out these relationships, appropriate discretion that was once there isn't being used anymore."


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