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New South Wales - Publications Details


Landa, D.E., Ombudsman
Report to Parliament Under Section 31 of the Ombudsman Act 1974: Concerning the failure of the former Department of Family and Community Services to issue instructions to superintendent and staff on the requirements of the Children (Detention Centres) Act and its regulations, in terms of minor and serious misbehaviour and in particular instructions on dealing with assaults on detainees by detainees
2 December 1991

In 1989 a detainee in Mt Penang wrote to the Ombudsman to complain that he was being assaulted by fellow detainees, and asking if he could be moved. He alleged that other detainees who were about to be released received 'discharge bashings'.

The Ombudsman found the detainee's allegations were truthful and that the boy had been severely threatened, bashed with steel bars, assaulted in his own bed, burned with a cigarette and, at one stage, nearly drowned by other inmates. His treatment, and the 'discharge bashing' received by another boy, had resulted in hospitalisations.

The Ombudsman found the superintendent and staff had failed to act and had ignored the Department of Family and Community Service regulations, and relevant legislation. The Ombudsman found that staff condoned the violence of detainees towards the boy, as a way to fashion his behaviour, instead of setting proper standards of conduct and maintaining control of the establishment.

The detainee who complained was moved to another centre and the administration of juvenile justice was transferred to the Department of Corrective Services in July 1991 and the Juvenile Justice Unit of the Department of Corrective Services became a separate administrative office in November 1991, named the Office of Juvenile Justice.

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