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LIV calls for national attention on youth detention

LIV calls for national attention on youth detention

By LIV Media

Criminal Procedure 


The Law Institute of Victoria welcomes the immediate response of the Federal Government in calling a Royal Commission into youth detention in the Northern Territory and called for a national examination of the issues.

LIV President Steven Sapountsis said this was a good opportunity for a review of what works in youth detention around the country and what could be improved.

“Youth offending is a focus of police, government and community attention in Victoria, and its causes and prevention was the subject of discussion at the Victoria Police Youth Crime Summit last week,” Mr Sapountsis said.

“It is time that we looked at the whole issue of youth detention nationally to ensure that our young offenders have the same rights and protections in every state and territory,” he said.

He suggested that issues for national attention included the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in detention, the use of solitary confinement and the use of restraints, and the practice of remanding children and young people.

Mr Sapountsis also called on the Federal Government to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT), which was signed in 2009.

In its submission to Australian Children’s Commissioner in June, the LIV said ratification of the protocol would enhance Australia’s commitment to independent monitoring, oversight and investigation of the treatment of children and young people in detention in Australia.

Monitoring places of detention would “achieve a more national and comprehensive approach with a greater ability to identify gaps and issues – particularly to individual Australian jurisdictions”.

The LIV submitted that the use of solitary confinement can have a “devastating, perhaps permanent” effect on the mental health of young people. The submission also endorsed raising the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 12 years of age, in agreement with the Law Council of Australia and other bodies.

He said the Royal Commission in Aboriginal Deaths in Custody 25 years ago was a template for the youth detention Royal Commission.

For further information regarding this media release please contact the
LIV Media Department

T: 03 9607 9373

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