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FAST FACTS: OMBUDSMAN’S REPORT INTO SOLITARY CONFINEMENT OF CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE

FAST FACTS: OMBUDSMAN’S REPORT INTO SOLITARY CONFINEMENT OF CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE

 

  • PAGE 9 – legislation and official procedures already acknowledge that children and young people should only be isolated as a last resort and should only be isolated for the minimum time necessary. Despite this the finds of the report that in practice, isolation in Victoria is “unjust, oppressive, discriminatory or simply, wrong.”

 

  • PAGE 148 – children and young people in Malmsbury are being isolated at approximately four times the 2014-15 rate.

 

  • PAGE 148 – Only 1 in 4 young people placed into isolation know why they are put there.

 

  • PAGE 148 – 68% of young people placed into isolation do not know why they are being kept alone. A child who agreed to be interviewed stated “sometimes I don’t know the reason why I am kept alone by myself.” Another, when asked about isolation said “I wasn’t told why” he was kept in isolation.

 

  • PAGE 148 – ‘Section 487(a) of the CYF Act expressly prohibits the use of isolation as a punishment. The inspection was accordingly concerned to note the 58 per cent of children and young people surveyed believed they had been isolated at Malmsbury as a form of punishment.’

 

  • PAGE 148 – This anecdote of why a young person was isolated highlights the misuse and vindictive nature of using isolation in Malmsbury – “I have been [isolated] in a holding cell, in another unit, which was when we were doing baking and a staff member had said I couldn’t take two things at once, but I had, and then he tried to take one off me. He took hold [of the item] but then he let go and fell back. He [called] a Code Blue. I said, ‘What for?’; it was all just a misunderstanding. I was held in a holding cell for almost a day before I got to explain what had happened and got let out. The guy had exaggerated.”

 

  • PAGE 148 – another quote from a young person – “I’m afraid to be sent down to the holding cells for a week. You can be taken to the holding cells just for being angry.”

 

  • PAGE 152 – 40 per cent of children reported that they did not always receive at least one hour of fresh air a day when isolated. During periods of isolation they were taken out to other areas of the facility to get fresh air and they said they were ‘handcuffed and escorted by SERT officers”. The investigators witnessed this twice in person and confirmed that “each was escorted by eight members of staff” and that “individuals appeared compliant and neither appeared to present an immediate threat to the safety of others.”
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