Page 707 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 17 March 2015

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Of course, by the time Corrective Services comes into contact with an offender, the offence has already occurred. The role that Corrective Services seeks to play is, while acknowledging that the offence has taken place, seeking to break that cycle of violence and ensure that, when an offender is released from custody or ends the serving of some sort of non-custodial punishment or even weekend detention, they are better equipped to deal with their own behavioural issues and have help to break that cycle of violence. ACT Corrective Services operates a number of programs to address violent behaviour by offenders. In particular, there is the domestic abuse program, which also operates in New South Wales. Other programs that address violence in a more general way include the violent offenders program, the anger management program and the cognitive self-change program.

It should be noted, of course, that issues of substance abuse or mental health can also be factors in acts of family violence. There are programs and treatment available to detainees to address these issues.

ACT Corrective Services also operates a program for women in custody who have experienced domestic or family abuse as victims. It is designed to help participants identify issues around domestic and family violence as well as identify the options and supports available to them so that when they leave custody they are better equipped to avoid situations of domestic and family violence and are given tools to assist them to improve their lives and get out of that space.

ACT Corrective Services is also represented at a senior level on a number of domestic violence forums, including the Victims Advisory Board, which the Director-General of Justice and Community Safety chairs, and the Family Violence Intervention Program Coordination Committee, which was spoken about earlier today.

As we reflect on this issue and reflect on ways in which we can all play a part in helping to tackle this very serious issue, which is far too prevalent in our community, I wanted to share with members of the Assembly those pieces of work that ACT Corrective Services does.

I would like to finish by reflecting on a point that Mr Hanson made, because I think it was a good one. This is an area in which governments are doing a lot, but there is also room for continuous improvement. That is a point that we should all reflect on as we debate this matter in the Assembly, in light of the many efforts that have been made. There have been efforts from government and significant efforts from a range of important community organisations. Nonetheless, this continues to be a significant problem in our community, so we can far from rest on our laurels; we have a lot left to do. We can all play a part in seeking to reduce those terrible statistics that have been cited in today’s discussion.

I look forward to continuing to discuss this issue, and I support the motion brought forward by the attorney today.

MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Minister for Housing, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Community Services, Minister for Multicultural

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