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Youth Justice custodial quarterly incident reporting (1 January to 31 March 2016)

Reports for other quarters are available

Please note: this report was originally published on the website of the Department of Health and Human Services. As part of the Machinery of Government changes announced by the Premier on 6 February 2017, youth justice services transferred from the Department of Health and Human Services to the Department of Justice and Regulation from 3 April 2017.

Incident reporting data is a snapshot in time of allegations made by clients of the Department of Health and Human Services. They are recorded and remain as incidents regardless of whether further information becomes available to substantiate or disprove an event. Incident reports include disclosures of historic abuse and assault that were alleged to have occurred before a client entered state care.

Category One incidents are the most serious incidents and include incidents such as death of clients; allegations of physical or sexual assault; and serious client behavioural issues that impact on client or staff safety. Where there is an allegation, it is met with a strong response that includes medical attention (should this be required), a report to police if it involves an allegation of physical or sexual abuse or a client is a victim of a crime and counselling and support being offered to all parties.

Following public hearings at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, a practice change occurred in mid 2015 that has resulted in all youth justice clients being asked about events prior to being admitted to custody. Following this practice change, there has been an increase in the number of assault incidents reported. These incidents are alleged to have occurred prior to clients entering the custodial setting.

Incident reporting enables service providers to take prompt corrective-action to protect the wellbeing and safety of clients where necessary and better understand the underlying causes of incidents to prevent their recurrence.

Following legislative changes made early in 2016, all category one incident reports involving a child or young person in out-of-home care, detained in a youth justice facility or in a youth residential centre are provided to the Commission for Children and Young People.

Table 1: Youth justice custodial services category one incidents quarter 3, 2015-16
Incident type Quarter 3 (January -March 2016)
Client death 0
Assault 23
Behaviour 0
Other incident types 5
Total 28

Please note: Incident reporting data undergoes routine data validation and as such is subject to minor changes over time. Total numbers contained in this report may not be directly comparable to subsequently released incident reporting information.

Assault

Assault includes alleged physical and sexual assaults, the majority being physical assaults. In a custodial setting, assaults often occur when young people in a confined space become agitated and frustrated, and this can result in physical force such as hitting or throwing objects. The department has very clear and strict procedures requiring all allegations of assault to be reported to the department within 24 hours, and that clients are protected and supported. All allegations of assault are required to be referred to the police.

Behaviour

Incidents involve aberrant or threatening behaviour.

Other incident types

Other incidents include matters such as drug/alcohol possession and injury.


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Author: Department of Health and Human Services
Publisher: Department of Health and Human Services
Date of Publication: 2016
Copyright:  State of Victoria, 2016.

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The department acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the Traditional Custodians of the land and acknowledges and pays respect to their Elders, past and present.