Thursday, February 01, 2007

Almost all of the suspects in 24 reported driver sex assaults since June were newcomers to Australia

Adelaide Now:

IMMIGRANTS may have to wait a year to get a taxi licence after police revealed that almost all of the suspects in 24 reported driver sex assaults since June were newcomers to Australia.

The Taxi Council of SA also wants to educate immigrant applicants about "the Australian way of life" before they get behind the wheel, amid fears that cultural differences are linked to the problem.

In the latest incident, a woman aged in her 20s told police she was sexually assaulted by a driver in the city early yesterday. She said she had caught a taxi from Sugar nightclub in Rundle St about 3.30am and had been taken to Waymouth St, where the assault had taken place.

Since June, five drivers have been arrested for sex offences. Officers from Operation Console, established to investigate the increasing number of reports and complaints, are looking at several more cases.

Police also revealed that 90 per cent of suspects had overseas backgrounds. Taxi Council of SA chief executive Peter Johns said yesterday his organisation was considering a proposal that recent immigrants hold an unconditional licence for at least a year before being permitted to drive for a living.

"We are talking to multicultural organisations within the industry so we can get better information to (drivers). They have to be aware of the Australian way of life," he said.

Sexual harassment education is already a mandatory component of driver training courses "but no amount of training or psychological training will determine what an individual will do", he added.

Detective Superintendent John Venditto, of the Sexual Crimes Investigation Branch, said the 24 assaults since June were believed to have been committed by different people. He said media reports of one sex assault that month had generated 86 calls to police, including reports of 11 sexual assaults.

Cabbies suspended over sex attacks

Govt calls for calm over taxi assault claims


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