Auditor-general: Police still not doing enough on sex assaults

SAM BOYER
Last updated 12:15 27/02/2013

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Police have not done enough to improve the handling of adult sexual assault cases, says the Office of the Auditor-General.

Deputy Auditor-General Phillippa Smith, in a select committee review of the office's latest police conduct monitoring report today, said organisational change was mostly heading in the right direction but results were not yet satisfactory.

The auditor-general's office began monitoring police behaviour following Dame Margaret Bazley's 2007 Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct in the wake of Louise Nicholas' 2004 allegations of police rape.

''What the report focuses on ... is the way that police handle complaints against their own, the way that they investigate adult sexual assaults ... the way in which they're managing change in police ... [and] how do you improve police behaviour.

''Mixed progress: some things are better, some things not so good. 

''There's [also] still that understandable problem that police are reluctant to complain about their peers, even when they spot poor behaviour.''

In particular, she said, police were failing in the way it dealt with adult sexual assaults complaints.

A training programme for police officers dealing with sexual assault complainants begain in 2007, but was still yet to be completed.

There were 142 staff who had not yet attended the training, Ms Smith said, including 57 supervisors. 

''It's still being rolled out six years later. We just don't think that's good enough. This is an important thing that they should be thinking about. Victims are still reporting variable experience.''

Ms Smith said this report, her office's third since 2007, showed more positive results than the second report had, in 2010.

The next report is scheduled for 2014-15.

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