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Save the Children Australia’s 54 reasons responds to the Queensland Government’s Child Death Review Board report

The leading child rights organisation says the report’s findings that six children including two First Nations boys known to the detention system died is the devastating result of a system that is failing young people.
15 March 2024

54 reasons, which delivers Save the Children services in Australia, responds to the Queensland Government’s Child Death Review Board report that found six children known to the youth detention system died, including two First Nations boys who spent extensive time in isolation.  
Mena Waller, Queensland State Director of 54 reasons, said the news that two First Nations children with disabilities died after spending considerable time in solitary confinement is the devastating result of a system that is failing young people. 
“These revelations from the government’s own report are extremely distressing. It is tragic that the lives of six children, including these two First Nations boys, have been lost to the system,” she said.  
“Both boys are reported to have spent more than 600 days combined in youth detention and a significant proportion of that time in isolation due to staff shortages. The state should be accountable for its failure to invest in adequate numbers of appropriately trained staff and the resulting irreparable harm that has caused.  

“We know that solitary confinement constitutes cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment and is a clear violation of children’s rights, yet the practice is still used in youth justice centres across Queensland. This is despite the overwhelming evidence that it can have severe, long-term consequences for a child’s mental health and wellbeing. 

“Queensland’s youth justice system has been systematically breaching the rights of children in detention, and this cycle must be broken. In particular, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people are grossly overrepresented in the youth justice system and the loss of these two boys further adds to the continual trauma experienced by their families and wider community.  

“We acknowledge that the families of all the children that have died in the system will be grieving their losses, and that the findings of this report are likely to be of little comfort.  

“The Child Death Review Board’s report demonstrates once again that the Queensland Government should invest in an alternative to the current youth detention model that doesn’t harm and re-traumatise children.

“The Miles Government must also commit to investing in early intervention and diversion and working with communities to address the root causes of offending, guided by trauma-informed and culturally appropriate responses.”


MEDIA CONTACT: Mala Darmadi on 0421 334 918 or

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