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Caxton Legal Centre’s Work with Children in Watch Houses

Posted September 11, 2019

Caxton Legal Centre previously welcomed the State Government’s action to remove all children from police watch houses just prior to its release of its Youth Justice Strategy Action Plan 2019-21.   Klaire Coles, Director of the Centre’s Coronial and Custodial Justice Practice, said “We have been working with the Human Rights Law Centre and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service to address this issue with the State Government.”

“However, there is renewed concern that there has been a return to the prior practice of keeping children in watch houses for extended periods of time, including up to two weeks. We consider the practice of children being kept for unacceptable periods of time in watch houses to be unlawful. Children must be moved to more suitable facilities quickly rather than being left to languish,”said Klaire.

Caxton’s CEO, Cybele Koning, said “Our Centre remains committed to tackling systemic injustices which see the most vulnerable amongst us denied basic human rights. In this instance we are extremely troubled by the length of stay in, and conditions for, children in watch houses.”

“There are legal issues we consider ourselves obliged to agitate in order to address this situation.”