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Youth justice custodial quarterly incident reporting (1 July to 30 September 2017)

Reports for other quarters are available

Incident reporting data is a snapshot in time of allegations made by young people in youth justice custodial facilities operated by the Department of Justice and Regulation. 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 young person entered the custodial setting.

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 young people 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 young people entering the custodial setting.

Category One incidents are the most serious incidents and include incidents such as the death of a young person; allegations of physical or sexual assault; and serious behavioural issues that impact on young people or staff safety. Responses to allegations can include medical attention (should this be required), a report to police if it involves an alleged crime and counselling and support services being offered.

Incident reporting enables youth justice services to take prompt corrective-action to protect the wellbeing and safety of young people 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 detained in a youth justice facility or in a youth residential centre are provided to the Commission for Children and Young People.

As part of the Machinery of Government (MOG) process 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 relating to Youth Justice Custodial Services in previous quarters can be found on the Department of Health and Human Services website.

Since the MOG occurred, there has been a general increase in the reporting of incidents following an increased focus on ensuring that incidents are appropriately reported and categorised. In particular, there has been a focus on ensuring the impact on young people and staff is appropriately considered when categorising incidents, resulting in a greater number of incidents categorised as Category 1.This includes reporting threatening and assaultive behaviour towards staff, all self-harm attempts and reporting all assaults that not only result in admission to hospital, but have the potential to harm and are of serious intent.

Table 1: Youth justice custodial services category one incidents quarter 1, 2017-18
Incident type Quarter 1 (July – September 2017)
Client death 0
Assault 39
Behaviour 15
Other incident types 26
Total 80

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 young people 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 self-harm.


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Author: Department of Justice and Regulation
Publisher: Department of Justice and Regulation
Date of Publication: 2017
Copyright: State of Victoria, 2017.

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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.