State Government-run Institutions

The New South Wales Government established reformatory schools and detention and remand 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.

Minda Juvenile Justice Centre

On 6 May 1966, the New South Wales Government established and opened Minda Juvenile Justice Centre, situated on Rookwood Road, Lidcombe NSW.  

Minda Juvenile Justice Centre (previously known as Minda Remand Centre) originally operated as a shelter and remand centre for children appearing before the children’s courts aged between eight and eighteen, who stayed on average for four weeks. Minda Juvenile Justice Centre comprised a children’s court and child guidance clinic, senior and junior boys’ sections, a girls’ remand section, boys’ and girls’ schools, manual training rooms and a medical section for girls, which included a venereal diseases clinic (reflecting attitudes of the time, there was no venereal diseases clinic for boys). The boys’ section held 60 and the girls’ section held 30. 

In 1976, when Taldree Home opened (another remand centre), Minda Juvenile Justice Centre became a detention centre for boys aged 18 to 20. (predominately aged between 14 to 16 years) who been convicted of criminal offences and were awaiting transfer to another institution (i.e. it was an institution typically for boys who were on remand). The children were typically confined by a court order at Minda Juvenile Justice Centre.   

In 1991 Minda became a Juvenile Justice Centre, under the control of the Department of Juvenile Justice. Minda Juvenile Justice Centre housed approximately 60 boys at one time.  

Minda Juvenile Justice Centre was managed by a Superintendent (or alike) who supervised and reported to the New South Wales government (through its agencies).  

Minda Juvenile Justice Centre closed in 2003 and was demolished and replaced with Juniperina Juvenile Justice Centre, a detention facility for young women.

History of Abuse and Concerns at Minda Juvenile Justice Centre

Criminologist, Ms Christine Howlett, has written that the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody reported that, in 1981, an Aboriginal detainee died in Minda, from heart failure. The Commissioner was concerned that youth workers at the Centre were not trained to deal with a boy under physical and emotional stress, or to provide resuscitation. 

Survivors of abuse at Minda Juvenile Justice Centre have reported that their experiences at the centre have left them traumatised. Survivors have reported significant sexual, physical and emotional abuse perpetrated upon them by officers, guards, and other staff personnel whilst detained at Minda Juvenile Justice Centre. Survivors have further reported that the sexual abuse frequently occurred under the guise of strip searches at Minda Juvenile Justice Centre, and that these strip searches for alleged possession of banned items became avenues for repeated incidents of sexual abuse they suffered. Survivors report that they were not comfortable raising or reporting their experiences of sexual abuse to staff at Minda Juvenile Justice Centre either due to their honest belief that they would not be heard or believed, or because their safety had been threatened by the perpetrators of the abuse.  

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.