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NT Department of Correctional Services Terminated as White Ribbon Workplace

In response to the ABC’s Four Corners investigation into the repeated assault and mistreatment of boys at youth detention centres in the Northern Territory,  the announcement of a royal commission and the dismissal of the Minister, the Northern Territory Department of Correctional Services has been terminated as an accredited White Ribbon Workplace.

Footage of the teargassing and torture of children in the Don Dale Youth Corrections Centre in Darwin shows unacceptable institutional conduct that contravenes the fundamental principles of White Ribbon Workplace Accreditation and White Ribbon’s zero tolerance of violence.

“The violence suffered by children and young people in the Darwin detention centre works to engender a culture of violence and disrespect and violates basic human rights,” said Nicholas Cowdery AM QC, Chair of White Ribbon Australia.

Last night’s broadcast, which contained footage of an Australian teenager being forcefully restrained on a chair and wearing a ‘spit hood’, and of boys being sprayed with tear gas after spending hours locked in solitary cells, is evidence of the violation of the responsibilities of an accredited White Ribbon Workplace and has resulted in termination of the accreditation.

“Workplaces have a critical role to play in setting standards of appropriate behaviour and holding perpetrators accountable for violence, by implementing policy and procedure, training staff in respectful behaviours, recognising the signs of abuse and intervening. This is essential and the department has failed to meet its obligations,” Professor Cowdery said.

As part of the accreditation process, organisations take part in a rigorous, internationally recognised program, which has reached almost half a million Australian adults through their jobs. They are required to make a number of changes, including the provision of leave to staff experiencing violence, codes of conduct, support services and staff training.

The total number of Australian employers that have attained accreditation is 64, including some in the traditionally male industries of stevedoring, mining and construction.

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The White Ribbon Campaign is the largest global male-led movement to stop violence against women. In Australia, White Ribbon’s prevention work engages men and boys to lead social change through its programs in schools, sporting codes, workplaces and communities. White Ribbon Night is one of the organisation’s two major annual campaigns, alongside White Ribbon Day on 25 November.

For media interviews contact Sally Burleigh: Sally@sbpr.com.au and 0419 516 889

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