Curfew a child protection measure: Territory Alliance



Parents, NGOs, government workers and the police will ensure that children under 16 are not in the streets of Alice Springs at night, says Territory Alliance Deputy Leader Robyn Lambley, starting within 100 days should her party come to power in August.


She says it is a child protection measure modelled on the Northbridge (WA) youth strategy started in 2003, “the most successful, long-term youth curfew in Australia.


“We’ve learnt through the COVID-19 era is that people can change their behaviour. During this period we saw very few unaccompanied children on the streets of Alice Springs at night.


“Crime plummeted and we were able to sleep at night.”


Now with the lock-down lifted, “crime has been turned on again”.


Mrs Lambley says: “Following the 2017 Royal Commission into the Detention and Protection of Children in the NT, there are now virtually no consequences for most juvenile offending.


“It is possible to have a system in which there are real consequences for juvenile offending; in which there are real opportunities for kids to rehabilitate; and in which the safety and well-being of the whole community is maintained. One does not have to negate the other.


“This is a child protection issue. If a child cannot go home at night, this needs to be investigated and addressed.


“We acknowledge that some children are defiant and difficult to manage. However, no parent or carer has the right to relinquish their responsibility for their children when it becomes difficult.


“Some parents require help and support. Other parents need reminding,” says Mrs Lambley.


Government funded children and youth services, such as accommodation, outreach, bail support, diversion, youth camps and protection will continue.


“The police will not be running around the streets at night throwing innocent children into paddy wagons and locking them up. This strategy is not about criminalising children.


“If they cannot go home, they will be taken to a safe house where they can stay until a responsible adult is found.


“There are several government owned facilities that could be used as safe houses. The old police station that was used as a women’s shelter for a period, is available.


“There is a large youth accommodation facility on Gap Road and a secure accommodation facility on South Terrace. Any of these facilities can be made more youth friendly.


“Consistent with the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, Territory Alliance believes the government has a critical role in ensuring the safety and protection of all children, day and night.”


The policy’s roll out will commence with an extensive education program across Central Australia. People will be advised well in advance that children will not be allowed to be out at night beyond a certain time in Alice Springs.


Mrs Lambley (pictured) says next Tuesday she will be tabling the youth curfew petition in Parliament: “We collected over 2000 signatures.”




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14 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. Ray
    Posted July 9, 2020 at 5:10 pm

    @ CAYJ: It is not as simple as relying on a fact check from The Conversation, it would be easy to post a contrary view from any other source, which is more right leaning.
    This is the problem with non-independent news sources, as a lot of the stories they present are flavoured by the news services they subscribe to.
    This is one of the reasons I like the Alice Springs News, as it is not controlled and is truly independent.
    When you say that the Northbridge curfew did not work, you need to expand on that with “which part” did not work as there are many aspects to it.
    One of the criticisms of it is that critics state it moved offenders from one part (Northbridge) to another part of town.
    This would not happen in Alice Springs because there is only one CBD area, not neighbouring ones like in Perth.
    Again it depends on who you talk to to see the effectiveness of it. Talk to business owners, it was a success because it did see a displacement of the youths who were committing the crimes in the area (and other reasons), and despite a spike in 2007, it is now significantly lower.
    Talk to social justice agencies and they will claim it was not a success due to it targeting Aboriginal youth and their rights (and other reasons).
    Unfortunately I and many of my friends will not go into the Alice Springs CBD at night any more due to the very real risk of vehicles being damaged, being involved in or witnessing anti social behaviour, or coming home to a damaged house.
    Look at the number of restaurants that have closed over the years, you can only afford so much insurance.
    There are numerous examples of this occurring from either social contacts or social media (with photos and or video to substantiate the claims).
    Regardless of the Northbridge example, the common theme is that we need some form of curfew, maybe not the exact same one. Everything we have tried before has failed to work, and it is now as bad as it has ever been.

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  2. Surprised!
    Posted June 19, 2020 at 11:38 am

    We’ve been talking the soft options for far too long. They haven’t worked and it has cost millions.
    Given that the justice system cant(won’t).
    Perhaps it’s time to let people dish out their own deterrents.

    View Comment
  3. Interested Darwin Observer
    Posted June 19, 2020 at 9:25 am

    Maybe we could understand the impact on crime during what was essentially a “curfew” during the Covid-19 (over)reaction if the crime data was released.
    Has anyone not wondered why April’s data is now five weeks overdue? In fact May’s data is due today also!

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  4. Litmus
    Posted June 18, 2020 at 2:03 pm

    Four years and millions of dollars have been channeled into soft options and so called diversions. Clearly an absolute failure. Look at last night’s crime spree and prove me wrong.

    View Comment
  5. Evelyne Roullet
    Posted June 18, 2020 at 1:28 pm

    Why the skilled youth workers cannot control the youth in our library? To keep disruptive behaviour to a minimum?

    View Comment
  6. CAYJ
    Posted June 18, 2020 at 11:42 am

    Central Australian Youth Justice Network does not support the imposition of a youth curfew.
    Instead, we call for the continued resourcing of a range of flexible after-hours services that provide young people with safe and fun activities in welcoming spaces, supervised by skilled youth workers, with access to meals and safe transport options, and supported referrals to other services, including crisis support, when needed.
    Studies of youth curfews in Australia and overseas consistently show that youth curfews are not effective in keeping young people safe or reducing youth crime.
    In fact, some studies show that youth curfews have slightly increased youth crime during curfew hours. The policing of a curfew is more likely to funnel young people into the justice system, rather than connecting them with services that address their underlying needs.
    Continued investment in youth services, and ongoing collaboration between agencies, government, families and the community, will help keep young people in Alice Springs safe and engaged in positive activities, and provide a means to connect at-risk young people and families to the supports they need.
    Please note The Conversation’s fact check response to the Northbridge Youth Strategy.

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  7. Anne
    Posted June 17, 2020 at 11:11 pm

    Without a good night’s sleep no learning takes place at school. No learning, no future.

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  8. Germaine
    Posted June 17, 2020 at 7:14 pm

    Robyn Lambley has lost the plot. Police throwing children into paddy wagons then locking them up?
    I have been broken into by Aboriginal youths, I called the police, very quick and arrested some of them.
    Thank You NT Police.
    Robyn Lambley will not get my vote.

    View Comment
  9. Mike Gillam
    Posted June 17, 2020 at 10:01 am

    Thank you Michelle and Elle. All three levels of government (a perfect Alice scenario for blame shifting and buck passing) need to coordinate and invest in our young people. I expected better policy than this from Territory Alliance.

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  10. Elle Jackson
    Posted June 17, 2020 at 9:30 am

    Every Territorian wants our children and young people to be safe and to avoid getting into trouble. This means stronger, more cohesive communities for all of us.
    A youth curfew, which Territory Alliance Deputy Leader Robyn Lambley says the Opposition will implement if elected in August, is not the way to achieve this.
    Instead, we should be further funding and resourcing flexible after-hours services for children and young people, to keep them engaged with activities and connected with skilled workers who they can build trusted relationships with.
    The Northern Territory Government has already invested in a number of these services, and we would like to see more, so young people in Alice Springs can be supported and connected to positive activities and role models.
    Around the world, it has been shown that youth curfews don’t reduce youth crime. They also don’t connect children with the services and programs they need to lead positive and productive lives.
    If we want our children and young people to reach their potential, we need to give them meaningful opportunities to engage with programs and services that will keep them on positive pathways.
    Elle Jackson, Manager, Jesuit Social Services.

    View Comment
  11. Robyn Lambley Office Sign Confusing
    Posted June 17, 2020 at 9:26 am

    I was coming out of Coles Alice Springs today and noticed Robyn Lambley office is displaying what looks ostensibly like a Country Liberal Party Corflute A Frame sign.
    Same colors and looks very similar to the CLP.
    My Uncle remarked: “I did not know Robyn Lambley was running for the Country Liberal Party again?”
    I have now seen Robyn Lambley display her purple independent sign, the Territory Alliance sign and now it looks very much like the Official CLP Country Liberal Party Sign.
    Have I missed the news? Is Robyn Lambley now a CLP Candidate?

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  12. Michelle
    Posted June 17, 2020 at 7:51 am

    A political game I suggest. The Northbridge ‘curfew’ did not reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.
    Here is a fact check if anyone wants to work with actual data to make a decision.

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  13. Psuedo Guru
    Posted June 16, 2020 at 3:31 pm

    “Until a responsible adult is found.” LOL. Police have better things to do.

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  14. Jack
    Posted June 16, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    Just one aimed to miss Hellfire missile from a patrolling Reaper Drone launched from the Space Base will clear the kids from our streets.

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