Royal Commission recommendations must be acted on to ensure a fair Northern Territory youth detention system

17 November 2017
Lawyers heading a class action for young people abused whilst in detention in the Northern Territory’s youth justice system have today welcomed the final report of the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory.

Maurice Blackburn Principal Ben Slade, who is leading the class action, said the Royal Commission’s report today was significant, with strong recommendations made that must be acted on urgently to ensure a fair youth detention system for the Northern Territory.

“Today’s final report from the Royal Commission paints a damning picture of the Northern Territory’s youth justice system, and we acknowledge the Commission’s critical work in shining a light on systemic failings and the urgent need for reform,” Mr Slade said.

“We will take the time to scrutinise this report in detail in detail, but we welcome the strong recommendations handed down today which we believe must be acted on to ensure a fairer system for young people detained in the Northern Territory.

“In particular we welcome the recommendations to close the current Don Dale Youth Detention Centre, and the immediate closure of the High Security Unit.

“We also support the recommendations of strict limits on when isolation can be used, including banning its use for behaviour management or punishment, and prohibiting the use of force or restraint to maintain ‘good order’.

“The Royal Commission’s findings are consistent with our case and we call on the Northern Territory Government to now sit down with us and discuss a fair compensation regime that recognises the harm done to young people in detention,” he said.