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Own initiative investigation report : services provided by the Department of Correctional Services at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre



Own initiative investigation report : services provided by the Department of Correctional Services at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre

Other title

Report to the Minister


E-Publications; PublicationNT; E-Books




Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).; The decision to conduct this self-initiated investigation was made by the former Children’s Commissioner, Dr Howard Bath, and was based on events that occurred at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre (‘Don Dale’) in the Behaviour Management Unit (‘BMU’) between 4 and 21 August 2014. This investigation was conducted in accordance with Section 10(1)(a)(ii) of the Children’s Commissioner Act 2013 (the Act) which allows the Commissioner, on his own initiative, to investigate a matter which may form the grounds for a complaint.


"Dear Minister. In accordance with section 43(2) of the Children's Commissioner Act 2013, I provide you with my final own initiative investigation based on events that occurred at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in the Behavius Management Unit between 4 and 21 August 2014'. p. 1.

Table of contents

Jurisdiction -- Formalities -- Background to investigation -- Process of investigation -- Investigation issues: issue 1; The decisions made and actions taken by Correctional Service staff at Don Dale in relation to young persons confined within the BMU on 21 August 2014 -- Issue 1 Findings -- Issue 2: The period of time young persons were confined within the BMU and the purpose of this procedure -- Issue 2 Findings -- Issue 3: The access young persons have had in regard to making a complaint to the Children’s Commissioner -- Issue 3 Findings -- Issue 4: The access young persons had to external service providers when confined within the BMU -- Issue 4 Findings -- Issue 5: The provisions in place to ensure the emotional and psychological welfare of young persons in the BMU -- Issue 5 Findings -- Issue 6: The contact young persons housed within the BMU have had with family members -- Issue 6 Findings -- Issue 7: The supervision and monitoring provided to the young persons whilst they were accommodated within the BMU -- Issue 7 Findings -- Recommendations -- Departmental response. -- Attachment A & B




Juvenile detention homes -- Northern Territory -- Darwin Region; Juvenile delinquents -- Rehabilitation -- Northern Territory

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Northern Territory. Office of the Children's Commissioner

Place of publication

Casuarina (N.T.)


52 pages : illustrations, plans ; 30 cm.

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P a g e | 19 YJO D agreed at interview that this was probably the case, however admitted he did not think to tell anyone that E wanted to come out because he was unsure of what was going on. YJO A told investigators he thinks the reason E wanted to speak to him was because he was scared of the dog. He also did not think it was his place to be informing senior management how to go about doing their job. He said that his role involves doing what he is told and not to question management. YJO A further stated that he did not think that talking to E was an option as by this time the POs had arrived and were taking charge of the situation. The A/GM informed investigators that it was difficult to communicate with YJO staff that were in the storeroom. The A/GM said that it was too noisy, too loud and too much happening and that he was thinking on his feet trying to resolve the situation. The A/GM advised at interview that he recommended the use of tear gas to extricate E because he was aware E was armed and he was concerned that if they didnt gain control of the situation someone would get seriously injured. He was aware that a staff member had already received an injury. He further advised that had he been aware that E was trying to give up, then he would never have subjected the young persons to the CS gas. The GM stated that he had not reviewed the Handicam footage and that he was also unaware that E had spoken to YJO D about coming out. He further conceded that YJO D had not been trained in critical incidents, however he thought that he would have had the common sense to inform the A/GM. E told investigators that he wanted to speak to YJO A, so he could give up. He also said that he could hear the dog barking and was scared. Handicam footage and audio captured the POs preparing to enter the BMU, as well as what appears to be a concern expressed by the dog-handler regarding the nonparticipating young persons. The dog handler can be heard to ask: You going to gas the lot of them? The Commissioner is then heard to say to someone: Mate, I dont mind how much chemical you use, we gotta get him out .. (Last part of sentence undecipherable.)

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