Successive Government inaction on declared places causing untold damage: Greens
17 August 2011
Years of failure to establish ‘declared places’ for mentally impaired adults and juveniles who are alleged to have engaged in criminal conduct is having painful and distressing consequences for innocent people, according to Greens MLC Alison Xamon.
Ms Xamon’s comments were made after it was revealed a 15-year-old boy already facing child rape allegations was accused of raping an 8-year-old child while under the care of the Department for Child Protection.
“It’s bad enough that WA doesn’t have declared places for adults, but this is a new low. The 8-year-old who was allegedly raped was also in the care of the DCP. He wasn’t being protected properly because the government has been too slow setting up declared places for accused juveniles with mental impairment issues,” Ms Xamon, Greens WA Spokesperson on Mental Health, Disabilities and Child Protection said today.
“There were questions about the mental capacity of this particular accused juvenile and whether he was fit to stand trial. If that’s the case, why was he placed with young children? Presumably because there was nowhere else to send him with jail being the only other option which is really no place to be sending our disabled. So really he is a victim of the system too.”
Under the Criminal Law (Mentally Impaired Accused) Act 1996, people considered unfit to plead can be sent to a ‘declared place’ to receive appropriate care and treatment. However, 15 years later, a declared place has still not been created.
“This government, and successive state governments, are culpable in this tragedy because they have failed to set up appropriate forensic mental health facilities for both adults and juveniles.
“This obviously needs to happen as a matter of utmost urgency so we don’t see a repeat of this tragedy.
“Again and again I plead with this government to address problems that occur when mental impairment issues collide with our criminal justice system. Now that this Government has such tragic evidence that innocent children are being affected by this government’s inaction, I hope that excuses will be put aside and urgent moves to establish declared places for adults and juveniles begin,” Ms Xamon concluded.
For additional comment contact Alison
Hon Alison Xamon MLC
Member for the East Metropolitan Region
Office: 62 Eighth Ave Maylands WA 6051
Postal Address: PO Box 104 Maylands WA 6931
Phone: (08) 9272 1718
Fax: (08) 9272 1719
Portfolios: Water, Urban Bushland, Mental Health, Education, Training, Industrial Relations, Employment, Occupational Health & Safety, Disabilities, Women, Children & Youth, Public Service, Community Services,Electoral Affairs, Consumer Protection, Vet Affairs, Volunteering