Territory Stories

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

Publisher name

Northern Territory. Office of the Children's Commissioner

Place of publication

Casuarina (N.T.)


52 pages : illustrations, plans ; 30 cm.

File type


Copyright owner

Check within Publication or with content Publisher.

Related links


Parent handle


Citation address


Related items


Page content

P a g e | 48 then given to the Professional Standards Unit (PSU) to investigate. Relevant CCTV footage supported Cs complaint and internal action was taken. This Office was not notified of the complaint in accordance with requirements set out in the Youth Justice Regulations. Regulation 66 (5A) of the Youth Justice Regulations states: That if, in the opinion of the Superintendent, the complaint is about a matter that could be the subject of a complaint under the Children's Commissioner Act, the Superintendent: (a) may refer the complaint to the Children's Commissioner; or (b) if the complaint is to be dealt with under these Regulations must, as soon as practicable, give written notice about the complaint to the Children's Commissioner. The Vita report recorded: There have been isolated and individual circumstances, as is the case in most institutional jurisdictions, where individual staff have taken it upon themselves to cover up their involvement in an incident by not reporting it up the chain of command, these attempts eventually fail. An example of this was an incident on 16 August 2014 where staff acted inappropriately in threatening a detainee at the Don Dale YDC and attempted to cover up the CCTV surveillance to hide this. 44 The conduct of the YJO staff did not amount to a criminal offence and a report was not made to Police, however the Correctional Services determined that the conduct did amount to a breach of discipline and took internal disciplinary action. RECOMMENDATIONS 1. Correctional Services develop and deliver a suitable training package to ensure that all staff have an adequate skill-set to work within the current youth justice environment. Records of the completion of such training should be recorded for each staff member and attached to their personnel file. Mandatory regular refresher training should be undertaken at industryaccepted periods45. The training should include: Crisis de-escalation / negotiation / mediation training specific to young persons in medium to high risk environments; 44 ibid. p.50. 45 For example, police officers in the Northern Territory have to do one day of training each year to maintain their firearms qualification; same as their defensive tactics training and First Aid certificates need to be re-freshed every three years.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this website may contain the names, voices and images of people who have died, as well as other culturally sensitive content. Please be aware that some collection items may use outdated phrases or words which reflect the attitude of the creator at the time, and are now considered offensive.

We use temporary cookies on this site to provide functionality.
By continuing to use this site without changing your settings, you consent to our use of cookies.