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WA Police issue, then withdraw, Violence Restraining Order on seven-year-old Indigenous child

Giovanni Torre -

A video of a Western Australian police officer serving a Violence Restraining Order on a seven-year-old Indigenous child has been shared on social media.

The video shows an officer from Mirrabooka station, in Perth's northern suburbs, reading out the terms of the VRO to the child while the boy holds his mother's hand.

The officer is heard reading terms and asking the boy's family if they understand the order. His mother and another family member respond "ask him that".

"What I said to you is ask my son now, my seven year-old son, if he understands what you said," the boy's mother says.

The officer responds: "I am just here to deliver this. I just need to read this out."

WA Police issued a statement confirming the VRO has been dropped.

"Police are required to serve court issued VROs. Following a court direction, Mirrabooka Police served a VRO on the evening of November 3," the statement said.

"During service it was identified that the child was seven years old. The law is very clear that a VRO cannot be made to a child under 10 years of age.

"After service, WA Police queried the VRO with the court. Any questions regarding the circumstances of the issuing should be directed to the court.

"While the VRO has now been deemed invalid, the Commissioner of Police has reviewed the matter and fully supports the officers involved. They conducted themselves professionally and were acting on the court's direction."

National Indigenous Times contacted WA Police Minister Paul Papalia and Attorney General John Quigley for a response. Their offices provided a recording of Aboriginal Affairs Minister Tony Buti speaking on the matter.

"It's obviously very distressing," said Dr Buti.

"Police acted on the fact the VRO was issued by the court, to my understanding. When they got back to the police station I believe they then realised the situation, so they were acting according to what they thought were appropriate measures.

"Of course it's something that is very distressing."

Dr Buti said he did not know how the decision to issue a VRO on the child was made given his young age.

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