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Commissioner condemns cable tying of young children in Broome.

The Commissioner for Children and Young People WA, Jacqueline McGowan-Jones, is appalled at media reports of young children being cable tied by a tradesman in Broome yesterday.

The comments are in response to news that a Broome man was charged with assault after allegedly capturing and restraining three young children found swimming in the backyard pool of a vacant property on Tuesday.

Media reports indicate the children, aged six, seven and eight, had their hands cable-tied together and were filmed sobbing while sitting on the ground leaning against a garage door as the 45-year-old tradesman stood beside them. A distressed passer-by live-streamed the incident over a fence as they pleaded with the man to release the trio.

In the Commissioner’s ‘Statement of Commitment to Western Australia’s Children and Young People’, based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, she reiterates that “every child has the right to be treated fairly and humanely.”

Quotes attributable to Jacqueline McGowan-Jones, Commissioner for Children and Young People WA

“The video footage was extremely confronting; the children appear quite frightened and nervous.

“It is my understanding that the children were swimming in the pool of the vacant house and while full details are not yet available about why the police were called, we need to understand that these are young children and there is absolutely no excuse for such an overreaction.

“These children are aged six to eight and international research shows at that age – whether they have a disability, cognitive impairment or not – children are not able to fully comprehend the moral consequences of their actions.

“The police did the right thing calling St John Ambulance and investigating further. We need to look at why these children weren’t at school, if the parents knew they weren’t at school, if the school had contacted the parents to alert them to their absence, and then work with the families to provide supports if needed.

“We also need a system that is going better support prevention and early intervention to stop having children and young people wandering the streets, potentially turning to crime.

“I was contacted by multiple community members yesterday about this distressing incident. People are worried about the children, about possible vigilante action, and I would just like to encourage the community to remain calm in the wake of this alleged assault.

“I am also calling on the government to develop a holistic child and family wellbeing strategy to ensure early intervention for our most vulnerable children.”