Children exposed to violence at Bimberi

The Charter of Rights for Young People in Bimberi is failing to keep kids safe from violence, Shadow Minister for Families, Youth and Community Services Elizabeth Kikkert said.

Since Youth Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith introduced the Charter in answer to serious allegations of systemic violence, the number of assaults have tripled and the use of force has doubled.

In 2017-18 there were 19 assaults and 178 incidents where force was used. The number of operational lockdowns surged from 34 to 179, according to the Bimberi Headline Indicators Report 2017-18. But in 2016-17, there were only 6 assaults, 84 incidents where force was used and 34 operational lockdowns.

“Ms Stephen-Smith introduced the Charter of Rights in response to sickening allegations of violence, but clearly it isn’t working,” Mr Kikkert said.

“Kids are still being exposed to violence while they are in the government’s care.

“Most of these kids have troubled backgrounds, and I fear that continued exposure to violence and to the use of force will stunt their ability to rehabilitate.

“Ms Stephen-Smith must concede that incidents of violence at Bimberi are not historical, with these latest figures showing that violence and the use of force is happening and getting worse.

“It is not acceptable for children and young people to be exposed to violence.

“I will be holding Ms Stephen-Smith and her government to account during annual reports hearing today,” Mrs Kikkert concluded.