Caritas welcomes Prime Minister’s call for Royal Commission into juvenile detention

Caritas Australia has welcomed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s announcement this morning of a Royal Commission, to investigate the evidence presented in this week’s Four Corners program about juvenile detention in the Northern Territory.

“The images presented in ABC's Four Corners program are profoundly disturbing,” said Paul O’Callaghan, CEO of Caritas Australia.

“We are a civilised country and these scenes are not representative of a country with values such as ours, particularly to those who are most vulnerable, such as children in detention.

“Every child in Australia is entitled to be treated with dignity and the Australian Government is obliged by its commitment to international conventions, to ensure that systemic abuse of children does not occur in this country.”

Caritas, the Catholic Church’s International Aid and Development agency, has worked with First Australian communities for over fifty years. More than half of our partnerships are in the Northern Territory region.

Mr O’Callaghan said Aboriginal children make up almost 60 per cent of the juvenile detention representation in Australia and 96 per cent representation in the Northern Territory.

“As an organisation that works alongside Aboriginal-led agencies, we recognise that Aboriginal people continue to be the most disadvantaged members of the Australian community. We expect that the Australian Government will act promptly with this Royal Commission to ensure that mistreatment of youth in detention is put to an end.”

Caritas calls for the terms of reference for the Royal Commission to cover all jurisdictions and to examine progress achieved with alternative approaches to the detention of children, including restorative justice approaches. 

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Nicole Clements Image
Nicole Clements

Nicole Clements is Media Advisor, Caritas Australia