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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 | 42 In relation to the young persons in the BMU during the period of this investigation the records show that they received the following visits from external professional visitors: Visitors Records Young person E Three visits - 11 August, 2014, 14 August 2014 & 15 August, 2014. Young person C One visit Video Conference visit 18 August, 2014 Young person F Five visits - 13 August 2014, 14 August, 2014, 15 August, 2014, 18 August, 2014 and 19 August 2014. Young person D One visit 18 August, 2014. An official visitor attended Don Dale on 7 August 2014. The visit is recorded for a period of two and a half hours. The GM advised investigators that he accompanied the official visitor to the BMU on this day and that the visit was conducted whilst the young persons remaining in their cells. Issue 4: Findings Although the young persons did not receive any unreasonable restrictions to available external service providers it is evident that they are are not receiving adequate external services to meet their needs. It is acknowledged that there is a serious shortage of specialist service options available to young persons in the NT youth justice system. This includes access to specialist therapeutic services to address issues relating to mental health, suicide awareness programs, sexual offending treatment, sexual health and substance abuse reduction, anger management. This is of concern given that many of the young persons in the youth justice system come from backgrounds of neglect, abuse, neglect, drug and alcohol abuse, and exposure to traumatic events. To assist them in addressing these complexities it is essential to have access to culturally appropriate evidence based programs. Unfortunately, for a number of reasons it is difficult to recruit and retain suitably skilled and qualified persons to deliver such services.

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