Urgent action is needed by the Victorian Government as youth justice reaches a tipping point following months of tension mounting from children detained in adult and youth justice detention.
Amnesty International is calling on the Victorian Government to respond to the disturbing report on the ABC’s 7.30 program.
“Revelations that a 16-year-old boy has a fractured vertebrae and injuries to his head after being assaulted by other inmates while detained at maximum security adult facility Barwon Prison raise serious human rights concerns,” said Roxanne Moore, campaigner at Amnesty International.
Leading up to this incident, lawyers for the boy had requested a transfer, fearing his safety after allegations that a staff member had assaulted him.
“It is very clear that adult prisons are no place for children. The Victorian Government must immediately transfer all children from Barwon prison to a safe and appropriate facility.”
Roxanne Moore, campaigner at Amnesty International.
“It is very clear that adult prisons are no place for children. The Victorian Government must immediately transfer all children from Barwon prison to a safe and appropriate facility. These serious allegations of assault must be immediately and independently investigated, and those perpetrators brought to account,” said Roxanne Moore.
The Victorian Government has continued to keep children in adult prison, despite Supreme Court and Court of Appeal rulings in December last year that this was illegal. This practice also breaches the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
After last year’s explosive revelations about conditions in Don Dale in the Northern Territory and Cleveland in Queensland, Amnesty International is extremely alarmed at the heavy-handed approach by the Andrews Government to children in youth detention.
“The Victorian Government should be making evidence based decisions rather than knee-jerk reactions that put children at further risk.”
“The Victorian Government should be making evidence based decisions rather than knee-jerk reactions that put children at further risk, like sending adult prison guards into youth detention centres, reportedly with batons and pepper spray. These are children who need our support to rehabilitate for a brighter future, not to be institutionalised for a life of crime,” said Roxanne Moore.
The Government has also announced a new $250 million dollar high security youth prison.
“We know detention isn’t an effective way to turn kids’ lives around. Instead of building more prisons, the Government should be resourcing community programs that address the underlying causes of offending for children,” said Roxanne Moore.
“The Victorian Government has a choice to make. The easy option is to impose a more and more draconian response to youth justice. But we know this does not work. It will breach the rights of children and lead Victoria down a very dark path.
“Instead, Amnesty International is calling on the Victorian Government to make the right choice and show leadership.”