Close this search box.
Government Social Affairs Child Protection Latest News

CREATE Foundation calls on QLD to cease locking up children in adult watch houses

2 min read

CREATE Foundation has renewed calls on the Queensland Government to immediately cease detaining children in adult watch houses following the Guardian Australia article that exposed “horrendous” and “inhumane” conditions in the Cairns police watch house.

The allegations of human rights abuses inside the Far North Queensland watch house, including children not receiving adequate food, medical attention and legal support are disturbing and show that the practice is unsustainable and unsafe.

“Children do not belong in adult watch houses. It is unsafe to lock children up with adults. This is an outright breach of children’s rights, an ineffective approach that does not address the core issues leading to reoffending,” said Jacqui Reed, CREATE CEO.

According to Reed, detaining children in watch houses does not offer long-term or even short-term solutions to the youth crime crisis and does not keep our communities safe, especially not its most vulnerable members.

“The Queensland Government urgently needs to raise the age of criminal responsibility and detention and improve access to effective therapeutic services. The focus should be on intervening early for children who need support.”

Watch houses should never be an accepted part of youth justice responses. Detention has a devastating impact on children’s health, development, mental health, and wellbeing (Human Rights Law Centre, 2023), and evidence shows that the earlier a child has contact with the criminal justice system, the more likely it is they will have long-term involvement in crime (AIHW, 2022).

Young people with an out-of-home care experience are far more likely to have contact with the justice system than young people without a care experience. More than half (53%) of the young people under youth justice supervision during 2020–21 had an interaction with the child protection system in the preceding 5-year period and 21% had been in out-of-home care in the last 5 years (AIHW, 2022). CREATE has called on the Queensland Government to consider this as part of its recent submission to the Youth Justice Reform Select Committee’s inquiry into the youth justice system.

For children with a care experience who come into contact with the youth justice system in Queensland, they are being failed by two broken systems – a child protection system that has not provided the care and support it should, and then a youth justice system that punishes young children and fails to uphold their human rights, causing more damage.

CREATE Foundation is the national consumer body representing the voices of children and young people with an out-of-home care experience. We provide programs to children and young people with a statutory care experience. We listen to what those with a lived experience of the care system tell us, and advocate with and for them to achieve systemic change.

 | Website

Menchie Khairuddin is a writer Deputy Content Manager at Akolade and content producer for Third Sector News. She is passionate about social affairs specifically in mixed, multicultural heritage and not-for-profit organisations.


You Might also Like

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Stories

Next Up

For the latest news, delivered straight to inbox please fill in the details below