Abuse Law – Institutions – Don Dale Juvenile Detention Centre, NT

State Government-run Institutions

The Northern Territory Government established reformatory schools and detention centres to provide institutional care and confinement for young people deemed to be in the need of ‘correction’. The Child Welfare Department were responsible for the management of these government-run institutions.

Don Dale Juvenile Detention Centre

In 1991, the Northern Territory Government established and opened Don Dale Juvenile Detention Centre, situated at 90 Tivendale Road, Berrimah, NT. In 2014 Don Dale Juvenile Detention Centre relocated from its original site, the former premises of Malak House, to the adjacent property of the former Berrmiah Gaol (30 Tivendale Road, Berrimah NT).

Don Dale Juvenile Detention Centre (previously known as Don Dale Youth Detention Facility) operates as the first ever State-run institution for young offenders in the Northern Territory. Don Dale Juvenile Detention Centre replaced Malak House and took in young offenders from all over the Northern Territory. It provides secure accommodation for up to 25 boys and girls, aged between 10 and 16 or 17.

Don Dale Juvenile Detention Centre continues to operate presently.

History of Abuse at Don Dale Juvenile Detention Centre

In February 2000, a death in custody occurred at the Don Dale Detention Centre. The case involved a 15 year old boy from Groote Eylandt who had been sentenced under the Northern Territory’s mandatory sentencing laws for stealing felt tipped colouring pens. A Coronial Inquiry into the circumstances of the death resulted in a number of recommendations being made related to training of staff and management practices in the Centre.

The Northern Territory Children’s Commissioner conducted an ‘own initiative investigation’ into incidents occurring at Don Dale Detention Centre in August 2014, which included the use of tear gas and restraints on young people, and released its report in August 2015. Essentially, six boys were in solitary confinement cells in the Behavioural Management Unit at Don Dale Detention Centre. One boy walked out of an unlocked cell and beat on a locked reinforced door. The staff declared that there was a “riot”, and released tear gas into the hallway, gassing all six boys. The Court found that the use of the tear gas was unwarranted, and awarded almost $1,000,000 in damages, providing:

The conditions which gave rise to this unlawful use of force perpetrated on youths in a detention centre for whose safety and wellbeing the defendant was responsible must never be allowed to happen again…

The Human Rights Law Centre subsequently made a request for urgent action on the treatment of young people at Don Dale Detention Centre to the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment, at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.

In July 2016, following an investigation by the television program Four Corners, the Australian Prime Minister announced a Royal Commission to inquire into the mistreatment of children and young people in juvenile detention at Don Dale Detention Centre and other facilities in the Northern Territory. The Commission recommended that Don Dale Detention Centre be closed down and that youth detention facilities should not be located close to adult prisons. However, Don Dale Detention Centre remains open and operating.

We are specialist abuse lawyers and can help you receive acknowledgement, meaningful apology and financial resolution from those institutions and systems of power that failed to protect you from harm. If you would like advice in relation to a childhood or adult sexual, physical and/or psychological/emotional abuse claim in any jurisdiction in Australia, please reach out to the author, Emily Wright, at Littles Lawyers today.

Further Abuse Law information written by our Emily Wright can be found on our website.

Like? Share it with your friends.

Contact the Author


More Articles

精神疾病(Mental Illness)及TPD伤残保险

近年来,社会对于精神疾病的认知、给予的支持以及开拓的治疗逐渐进步。随着大家对精神健康(mental health) 的讨论渐渐开放和了解,社会对 “精神疾病” 或 “心理障碍” 患者的污名化以及刻板影响也日渐被打破。尽管如此,对于患者来说,要维持生计、养家糊口依然是一个很大的挑战。当一个人因为精神疾病而无法工作,她/他可以申请完全和永久伤残保险 (Total and Permanent Disability Insurance, 以下简称TPD保险) 赔偿吗?  很多人或许会认为,身体上的伤残比精神疾病更符合申请TPD保险或收入保障险 (Income Protection Insurance,或称Salary Continuance Benefits)的资格。或许正在阅读这篇文章的您也认为以精神疾病或障碍作为理由去申请索赔的成功率很低,所以没必要尝试。我们希望这一篇文章能改变您的看法,也能为一些受精神疾病困扰的人提供一些有用的信息。 ...

Read More