The Queensland Government’s decision to criminalise breach of bail for children is an undeniable violation of their rights and risks exacerbating the human rights crisis developing within the state’s youth justice system, said Save the Children.
Queensland’s police minister Mark Ryan said that his government accepts the laws are “incompatible with human rights” but argues that the breach of children’s rights is necessary to protect the community.
However Mena Waller, Queensland State Director for 54 reasons, which delivers Save the Children’s services in Australia said the new laws will not make the community safer and will only further damage the State’s reputation for failing to protect the rights of children.
“This latest proposal put forward by the Queensland Government will not serve the community or the children who are involved in the state’s youth justice system.
“The decision that has been made by the Queensland Government was made without meaningful community consultation and lacks evidence to support the argument that criminalising breach of bail will be an effective strategy for tackling the state’s current issues.
“Safe and healthy communities are created by meeting the needs of children, not locking them away and making things worse in the future. Children deserve the chance to learn from their mistakes without being harmed in prison, which we know instead often increases the likelihood of reoffending.
“We cannot ignore the fact that many children who find themselves in touch with the justice system have themselves been victims of crime.
“The government should instead be adequately investing in early intervention services that are trauma informed, that engage with and strengthen families, and that use effective diversionary approaches while also working with the community, and children and young people themselves, to find alternatives to detention.”
The Queensland government’s decision comes as the UN Subcommittee on torture announced it was permanently terminating its visit to Australia due to lack of assurances from some Australian states, including Queensland, about appropriate access to facilities.
MEDIA CONTACT: Mala Darmadi on 0425562113 or firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTES TO EDITORS
54 reasons is Save the Children’s Australian service delivery arm, working in almost 200 communities and locations in every Australian state and territory. 54 reasons delivers quality services to children and families to support child development, divert young people from the justice system, respond to domestic and family violence, and amplify children’s voices and participation in decision making.