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Save the Children slams WA Government for serious breach of children's rights

Save the Children Australia is calling on the McGowan Government to overhaul Western Australia's juvenile justice system to ensure children's lives are protected and their rights are upheld.
11 February 2022

Judge’s ruling on 15-year-old sounds alarm that cannot be ignored, says Save the Children Australia.

The urgent demand follows a ruling by Perth Children’s Court President Hylton Quail who described the treatment of a 15-year-old boy at Banksia Hill Juvenile Detention Centre as illegal and a case of “prolonged, systemic dehumanisation and deprivation”.
 
The boy was locked alone in a glass-walled cell for 79 days, including Christmas Day, and permitted to exercise on just 34 of those days - for an hour in a 20-metre long cage.
 
The ruling was a further indictment on the conditions in Banksia Hill Juvenile Facility. Last month Judge Quail allowed a 17-year-old to be transferred to an adult prison because the conditions were better.
 
Executive Director of Australian Services for Save the Children, Matt Gardiner said the latest ruling by Judge Quail was not something that could be brushed aside by the McGowan Government.
 
“This was unlawful, and a heinous breach of a child’s rights,” said Mr Gardiner.
 
“There are clearly underlying, systematic and dire problems with the states’ treatment of children in their care.”
 
“The failure of the system is destroying the lives of children who were barely even given a chance. We must do better.”
 
“As with Don Dale, the state must be held accountable for the failure to invest in adequate staff and protecting the children in its care.”  

 
The Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Australia is a party to and bound to comply with, prohibits the use of solitary confinement of children in all settings.
 
“Children should not be placed in solitary confinement, full stop.”
 
“Solitary confinement can have detrimental impacts on the physical and mental health of children, let alone for extended periods of time,”
Mr Gardiner said.
 
“It’s a clear violation of a child’s rights and it needs to be eradicated from youth justice systems across the country.”
 
Save the Children runs preventive, early intervention and diversionary initiatives in every state in Australia, including as part of a significant community-led initiative in Western Australia supported by the Paul Ramsay Foundation.
 
ENDS
 
MEDIA CONTACT: Kimberley Gardiner on +61437 435 777 or media.team@savethechildren.org.au

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