15 July 2018
BY MONIQUE HORE AND REBEKAH CAVANAGH
GUARDS at Parkville youth justice centre have been stood down amid allegations a teenager committed a brutal sex assault against another youth prisoner.
Victoria Police is investigating the alleged sexual assault, reported in May.
The Sunday Herald Sun understands the teenage victim was tied up during the assault and remains in hospital.
His roommate, held at Parkville on remand, was bailed after the alleged attack.
However, he was later arrested on unrelated charges and returned to custody.
At least three Parkville guards have been stood down in light of the allegations.
A Department of Justice spokeswoman refused to answer questions about the incident or whether the guards failed to follow safety protocols.
"We are unable to provide comment on individual matters that are subject to a police investigation," she said.
Victoria Police confirmed its Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team was investigating the alleged attack.
"Police are investigating following a report of a sexual assault at an inner Melbourne correctional facility," spokeswoman Creina O'Grady said.
"The matter was reported to police in May and as the investigation is ongoing it would be inappropriate to comment further."
The alleged incident has called into question the safety of Victoria's youth justice centres.
Official data shows 24 alleged physical and sexual assaults were reported in youth justice centres between January and March this year.
Another 79 alleged assaults, the majority physical, were reported in the previous six months.
Opposition spokeswoman for families and children Georgie Crozier called the alleged sexual assault "outrageous."
"How much more time does the Andrews Government need to fix the serious security issues they've got in youth justice?" she said.
"So far it's been nearly four years of excuses and buck-passing."
Youth Affairs Minister Jenny Mikakos said she could not comment on a matter being investigated by police.
But in a written response to questions in Parliament's last sitting week, Ms Mikakos said violence or assaults by young people in custody was "absolutely unacceptable".
"The safety of our staff, young people and the community is of utmost importance," she said.
"All incidence or allegations of violence or assault by young people or staff in Youth Justice Centres are reported and referred to police for investigations."
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