What do NPMs do

NPM responsibilities are separate and distinct from existing functions of nominated bodies. NPMs have four core responsibilities underpinned by the principles of prevention and dialogue

Visiting function

  • Visits to places where people are, or may be, deprived of their liberty to examine their treatment and the conditions in which they are detained.
  • Unfettered access.
  • Proactive and preventive approach rather than reactive and punitive.

Advisory function

  • Identify patterns and systemic risks of torture or ill-treatment. Provide advice and recommendations to authorities.
  • Provide proposals or observations on existing policy or legislation. Governments should inform the NPM of relevant draft legislation on which the NPM can comment.
  • Produce reports, reviews, opinions and submissions on legislation, policy, procedures, mechanisms, systems and personnel related issues pertaining to torture and ill-treatment.

Educational function

  • Development of educational and awareness raising programs about OPCAT and its prevention mandate for civil society, law enforcement, health and public officers and any other persons involved in the custody, interview, or treatment of any individual subject to any form of detention.

Cooperation function

  • Meaningful dialogue with the SPT, governments, detaining authorities and any other relevant stakeholders concerning prevention of torture or ill-treatment.
  • Engagement with civil society organisations and people with lived experience in the identification, advocacy and prevention of torture and ill-treatment.
  • As a member of the Australian NPM network, collaboration and information sharing through:
    • OPCAT advisory group
    • Communiques
    • Joint statements
    • Joint submissions

OPCAT requires state parties to make available the necessary resources for the functioning of NPMs. The capacity of NPMs to carry out these functions will depend entirely on the additional resources that are allocated by government for that purpose.

NPMs are not intended to deal with individual complaints. Complaints are handled by a separate part of the Ombudsman’s Office. To read more the NT Ombudsman’s complaints process, or if you wish to make a complaint, click here.