Social services and police have been criticised in Australia after footage emerged apparently showing officers dressed in riot gear raiding a home to remove multiple children from one family.
Footage was provided to Australia’s National Indigenous TV (NITV) news show and the video showed the New South Wales police entering a home at around 6:30am earlier in the year to remove some young Aboriginal children.
The police were joined by the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS).
The parents who were awoken by the police told NITV that the officers’ guns were pointed at them as they were then handcuffed while their children were removed from their care.
The police said children aged between one and 13 were removed from the home.
New South Wales Police said that a raid had indeed occurred but that the parents had not been charged. Indeed, while the children were placed in temporary foster care following the incident they are now back with their parents.
The New South Wales Greens, the state Green party, have questioned why such tactics were used to remove the children in question.
David Shoebridge, a Member of the Legislative Council in New South Wales and a member of the Greens, told NITV that the children were still traumatised, describing the story as “deeply troubling.”
“[They used] shields, helmets, assault rifles, the mother and father taken from their beds, shaken from their beds, handcuffed naked, children marched out at gunpoint.”
The FACS countered that the riot police were used to protect caseworkers, arguing in a statement that the “NSW police provide critical protection in often very complex and difficult child protection matters. Police only attend a child protection issue after a stringent risk assessment.”
The FACS said the children were taken because of significant safety concerns and that they would only remove children from their parent’s home when there was a serious problem.