Media Release: Disturbing Footage a Stark Reminder of Society’s Failure to Support its Most Vulnerable

The Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies (ACWA) has welcomed moves by the Federal Government to establish a Royal Commission into the Northern Territory juvenile justice system in the wake of horror revelations of the abuse of teenage boys at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in Darwin.

Acting CEO Dr Wendy Foote said the sickening footage to emerge on Monday night’s Four Corners program of the brutality that vulnerable Northern Territory teens have been subjected to while in the care of the state made for heartbreaking viewing.

The shocking breaches of children’s rights come during the 25th anniversary year of Australia’s endorsement of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“It is hard to fathom how such harrowing acts of violence and shocking breaches of children’s rights could be happening in a nation we call ‘the lucky country’,” Dr Foote said.

“ACWA expresses its deepest sympathy to the young victims of violence and to their families.

“It is shattering to think of what long lasting emotional impact this abhorrent abuse will have on the lives of these young people, already struggling as a result of society’s failure to support its most vulnerable.

“These disturbing images should serve as a stark reminder to all of us that we need to do more to tackle the underlying causes that push young people into the criminal justice system.”

The Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies is the New South Wales peak body representing non-government organisations which provide services to vulnerable children, young people and their families.

Media enquiries: Libby McCalman 0418 659 525