Hon Murray Cowper MLA

Hon Murray Cowper MLA

Former Minister for Training and Workforce Development; Corrective Services

    Mandatory sentencing protects youth custodians

    24/01/2013 12:00 AM


    Offenders who assault and cause bodily harm to youth custodial officers (YCOs) would receive mandatory terms of jail or detention, under proposed amendments to the Criminal Code announced today by the State Government.
    In 2009, the State Government fulfilled its commitment to protect police and certain other categories of public officers by prescribing minimum terms of imprisonment or detention for offenders who did them bodily harm.  While the amendments included prison officers, they did not extend to youth custodial officers.
    Corrective Services Minister Murray Cowper said the decision to extend the scope of mandatory minimum terms to assaults on YCOs was taken following a spike of attacks in 2012 and after consultation with the officers and the Community and Public Sector Union Civil Service Association (CPSU/CSA).
    “The Government has taken the decision that these uniformed public officers face violence as an everyday intrinsic part of their public duties and should be afforded the same protection as those already covered by mandatory sentencing legislation,” Mr Cowper said.
    “This Government will not tolerate violent behaviour in our detention centres.”
    The Minister said that between July 2008 and July 2012, there had been about 50 assaults against YCOs in WA.
    “Based on these figures, the impact on our juvenile detention system should be relatively low, but significant on the impact of officer morale,” he said.
    “While the approval to draft this legislation was sent to State Cabinet before the incident at Banksia Hill on Sunday, the events at the juvenile detention centre certainly highlighted the need for the new laws.
    “It is the Government’s intention that the mandatory sentencing laws will be introduced as a matter of priority.  I am seeking an Opposition commitment to support them.”
    The following terms of imprisonment or, in the case of juveniles older than 16, detention will be applied as per s.297 (4) and (7) and s.318 (2) and (4) under the Criminal Code Amendment Act 2009:
    Level of Injury Sustained
    Juveniles (16 to 18-years-old)
    Grievous Bodily Harm
    12 months
    Three months
    Bodily Harm (in circumstances of aggravation)
    Nine months
    Three months
    Bodily Harm
    Six months
    Three months

    Fact File

    • Under Liberal National Government, mandatory jail introduced for assaults against police, ambulance officers, transit guards, court security officers and prison officers.
    • Since these laws were passed, there has been a 28% drop in reported assaults against police

    Minister’s office - 6552 5700