The number of children and young people detained in the Adelaide Youth Training Centre (AYTC) in 2018-19 has decreased, although residents who are Aboriginal or in care continue to be overrepresented, according to the latest Training Centre Visitor’s Annual Report.
Here is a snapshot of the report.
The year by numbers
In 2018-19, there were 608 admissions to the AYTC concerning 299 children and young people. Of these 299 individuals:
- each resident was detained on average, two times
- 50.5% were Aboriginal
- 31.1% were children and young people under guardianship, primarily from residential care
- 19.3% were females
- 64 admissions were for children aged 10-12 years (an increase from last year).
Issues of concern
Issues of concern summarised in the 2018-19 annual report had already been identified throughout the year during our visiting and advocacy programs and review of records. The Training Centre Visitor Unit accordingly had made recommendations (based on the voices of the residents) prior to this report, about these concerns, including in relation to:
- semi-naked searches
- complaint processes
- isolation and use of safe rooms
- inadequacy of Aboriginal programs and cultural support
- resident right to privacy
- female hygiene products
- incidents and use of force
- room standards
- unavailability of critical data (e.g. no data is currently available for residents with a physical, psychological or intellectual disability).
Positive changes to enhance wellbeing and safety of residents
The following positive changes have been made by the AYTC staff and management to enhance the wellbeing and safety of residents:
- a reduction in the frequency, and improvement in recording of semi-naked searches
- introduction of a ‘Yarning Circle’ (cultural program) for Aboriginal female residents
- the development of a Medical Locum Attendance Log that tracks each medical incident from point of identification to the attendance of a locum
- recognition of the need to develop better understanding of the needs of African and Muslim residents through building relationships with their communities.
The TCV Unit received 48 requests for advocacy, with 40 suitable for TCV advocacy on behalf of 31 residents.
The main themes for individual advocacy matters were:
- use of safe rooms, isolation and lockdowns
- interactions and access to staff
- unit transitions and routines
- placement within the centre and lengthy remand.
The TCV Unit worked with the Guardian’s Advocates (who have a mandate for children in care) to address the needs of nine individuals who required advocacy about their care and treatment within the AYTC and in care.
In the 2019-20 financial year, along with our ongoing visiting program and review of records, we will be:
- conducting a pilot inspection later this month
- continuing to address the absence of advocacy protection of the right of children and young people in the justice system while they are outside the walls of the AYTC (currently we are only mandated to advocate and oversee the best interests of this cohort when they are physically within the walls of the centre). We have recommended that the TCV mandate should expand to include these children and young people, ensuring the role meets the requirements of OPCAT (which Australian must put into place in late 2020).