Youth justice centre staff - female youth justice workers (9.3.2017)
Written on the 23 March 2017
Youth justice centre staff
GEORGIE CROZIER (LIB - Southern Metropolitan)
My adjournment matter this evening is to the Minister for Families and Children, and it relates to the ongoing incidents that are occurring at youth justice facilities here in Victoria.
The action I seek is for the minister to provide to the house what support is particularly available for female youth justice workers?
The reason I am raising this issue is that a couple of weeks ago there was a serious incident at Malmsbury, which has been widely reported, where a youth justice worker was severely bashed with a table tennis bat. He had severe injuries to his ear and is having ongoing treatment for that. But at the same time there was a very severe incident relating to a female youth justice worker, who was sexually assaulted and groped; her breast was handled and lewd comments were directed toward her.Now, this is not the only complaint that I have had in relation to female youth justice workers having very dreadful and demeaning comments directed to them by a number of young offenders on an ongoing basis, and they have contacted me over a number of weeks and months in relation to what has happened to them. As we know, they have got so much else to deal with, with the ongoing chaos that is happening. This has been swept under the carpet, if you like, and it is not getting the proper attention it deserves. I think that those women who are working in the youth justice system deserve greater attention and respect in relation to what their concerns have been. To date there has not been nearly enough done on this issue.
So the action I seek from the minister is that she provide to the house the mechanisms and protections put in place for female workers in the justice system, who are being constantly targeted by young offenders, with lewd and grossly demeaning comments. I am not going to repeat them in the house, because they are so gross, but I have been told firsthand what has been said to them. I want to know what the minister is doing to protect these women and to effectively bring this situation under control, because it is not good enough. These women, who are working in very, very dire and very tedious circumstances and have been doing so for many, many months, deserve much better than this.