QLD to halt hog-tying
A whistleblower says youth workers were aware of systemic abuse inside Queensland's juvenile detention system.
The State Government has released previously hidden portions of a report into youth justice showing young people had been hog-tied; a practice the Government says will be banned.
The State Government re-released a less redacted review of a youth justice report that found no action to prohibit hog-tying had been taken, that the method was ineffective, and that staff were not trained in how to use proper restraints.
Graham Pattel, a former worker at the Cleveland Youth Detention Centre in Townsville, said there was known culture of abuse.
“There were a few select workers that used to do it and they were quite protected by the system,” Mr Pattel told the ABC.
“To exacerbate that with hog-tying and cutting kids clothes off, you can just imagine how much trauma that would cause those young people.”
Hog-tying is used to restrain a detainee by tying their hands and feet together.
The State Government has pledged to adopt the recommendations of a recent report into youth justice, including banning hog-tying.
Siyavash Doostkhah from Queensland's Youth Affairs Network says the review was too limited from the outset.
“The reviewers themselves very clearly have stated that the terms of review was too narrow for them,” Mr Doostkhah said.
“They're saying the time was too short and they've given examples where they've asked detention staff for CCTV footage and that footage hasn't been forthcoming.
“There are some things that are hidden.”
He said the use of ‘chemical restraints’ - using medication to calm uncontrolled children - was equally concerning.
“The practice of using medication as a form of chemically restraining young people is as bad as the physical one and the harm is potentially greater,” he said.
Amnesty International has welcomed the planned reforms, but questioned why the disturbing practices were able to go on so long.
“It is cruel, inhuman and degrading abuse of children and it's also a likely breach of the [United Nations] Convention against Torture,” Amnesty campaigner Roxanne Moore said.
“The ethical standards unit, the ombudsman, the Crime and Corruption Commission, they all looked at this practice of hog-tying over several years and allowed it to continue.
“This to me shows that the oversight mechanisms in Queensland are broken, and that's why it's clear that Queensland has to immediately set up an independent inspector of custodial services.”