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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 | 25 consider removing the handcuffs and hood from E prior to transferring him because he was not directed to by management. He was not aware of the policy regarding using handcuffs on young persons whilst in a vehicle. It was clear during interviews that the GM and A/GM did not possess any current knowledge of the use of handcuffs or the policy regarding the use of handcuffs. Section 9.2.11 of the Don Dale Instruction Manual15 16states: Handcuffs are to be removed as soon as a detainee is in a secure area of vehicle. Commissioners Directive 3.1.517 states: The handcuffs will remain secured on the detainee during transit to ensure a safe and secure exit from the vehicle when arriving at the designated destination. Staff response to incident due to a lack of formal training in crisis management All of the YJO staff interviewed were of the opinion that they had not received sufficient training to undertake their required daily duties. They stated that they received only minimal training (approximately 3 days) at the commencement of their employment, and that long term staff do not receive any refresher training except for first aid and fire training. The A/GM told investigators that: a YJO receives three days training and there is no way in the world the training is adequate... The GM told investigators that: it is no secret there has been a paucity of training in Youth Justice... He then advised that a Certificate III in Youth Justice was to be introduced in February 2015. The GM confirmed that he was not aware of the recommendation made by the Childrens Commissioner in 2012 to address training deficiencies and improve practices within juvenile detention. SS A told investigators that management were talking about implementing a Certificate III in Youth Work years ago, but it was never implemented. It appears that most YJOs have received Predict, Assess & Respond To Challenging/Aggressive Behaviour (PART) training which includes restraint 15 As applicable on 21 August 2014 16 This policy was changed on 28 April 2015 due to an escape by two young persons from the back of a Correctional Services vehicle. 17 As applicable on 21 August 2014

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