AMNESTY: Bipartisan support needed to fix juvenile justice
AMNESTY International has called on Queensland's politicians to work together to ensure better outcomes for young people entering the juvenile justice system.
The call comes after a Freedom of Information request, filed by the non-government-organisation, brought to light photos of concerning treatment of minors being held in Townsville's Cleveland Youth Detention Centre and the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre.
In response to that footage Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath called an independent review to examine the system.
Amnesty has welcomed the move but says politicians from all parties need to work together to ensure the best outcomes possible.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has pledged to address the over representation of Indigenous children in detention at the upcoming COAG meeting.
Amnesty International urged the Federal Government and COAG leaders to follow the leadership of the Queensland Government in taking urgent action to protect children by immediately ratifying the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT), and establishing a National Preventative Mechanism to independently monitor all places of detention in Australia.
YESTERDAY: QUEENSLAND Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath has ordered an independent review into the state's youth detention centres after Amnesty International revealed incidents of alleged abuse in two centres.
Ms D'Ath appeared before the media a day after documents released under FOI laws were broadcast on the ABC.
The documents, obtained by Amnesty, show numerous incidents of alleged abuse and mistreatment over five years at Townsville's Cleveland Youth Detention Centre and the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre.
In a statement, Ms D'Ath said the terms of the review would focus on the practises, operation and oversight of the centres with a particular focus on the issues raised by Amnesty International and the ABC.
She said she was not able to discuss the specific cases highlighted in the FOI documents without permission from the children involved.
EARLIER: PHOTOS showing alleged abuse and mistreatment in Queensland youth detention centres have been labelled proof of a systemic, long-term culture of abuse and secrecy.
The photos were obtained by Amnesty International through a freedom of information request and show a number of incidents in the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre and the Cleveland Youth Detention Centre in Townsville.
In a statement, Amnesty International's Roxanne Moore called for the Queensland government to establish an independent body to investigate the alleged abuse.
The incidents occurred between 2010 and 2015 and were not limited to the government in power at the time.
Amnesty said the photos revealed one incident in January 2013 at the Townsville centre where a 17-year-old boy at high risk of suicide had his legs and arms cuffed before several staff members cut off his clothing and underwear with a knife.
"The boy was left naked in the cell for over an hour before being given a gown to wear," the statement said.
The response was said to be because the boy refused to return to his room. Amnesty said 14 staff members responded.
"This case demonstrates both the failure of care for vulnerable children and the lack of accountability in the detention system," Ms Moore said.
Amnesty's statement said the FOI documents showed an internal review of the incident was eventually recommended, but do not specify if it was carried out.
They showed a review was not immediately performed because the teen himself did not make a complaint.
Ms Moore, who is Amnesty International Australia's Indigenous rights campaigner, said it should not be left to a traumatised, suicidal boy to report the incident.
Other incidents reported by Amnesty included several reports of children receiving fractured wrists while being restrained.
Amnesty said the documents also revealed youth detention centres were using search practises that have been banned from adult prisons.
The FOI request was part of a joint investigation by Amnesty and the ABC.
Former guards and former inmates appeared on the program Landline on Thursday night and instances of alleged abuse at the Cleveland detention centre.
Queensland's Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath is due to give a statement regarding the allegations later today.
The government has previously gone on record saying there were no systemic issues in Queensland's youth detention system after the Courier Mail revealed last month that five guards have been sacked from youth centres for excessive force in the past year.