Juvenile Offender Care Guidelines

About this Item
SpeakersForsythe The Hon Patricia; Tebbutt The Hon Carmel
BusinessQuestions Without Notice


The Hon. PATRICIA FORSYTHE: My question without notice is to the Minister for Juvenile Justice, Minister Assisting the Premier on Youth, and Minister Assisting the Minister for the Environment. Are there circumstances in which it is deemed appropriate for an officer of the Department of Juvenile Justice to invite a juvenile in detention to spend time at that officer’s home? Do guidelines exist in relation to this practice? If so, what do the guidelines say?

The Hon. CARMEL TEBBUTT: It is difficult to know from the way in which the Hon. Patricia Forsythe asked the question whether she is referring to a specific situation or is seeking general information about procedures within the department. I assume the question relates to general information. However, should the question relate to a specific incident, I suggest the honourable member provide detailed information so that I can respond. I advise the House that two policies of the department would be appropriate in the circumstances to which she referred: the code of conduct and, possibly, the policy on the provision of a protective abuse-free environment. Both policies are applicable to all employees of the Department of Juvenile Justice and training is provided under those policies.

The Hon. PATRICIA FORSYTHE: I ask a supplementary question. Has the Minister received allegations that the Director-General of the Department Juvenile Justice has taken home juveniles in the care of the department? Has the Minister sought an explanation from the director-general in relation to this matter? What action has the Minister taken in relation to the matter?

The Hon. CARMEL TEBBUTT: The Hon. Patricia Forsythe is probably well aware that I have received anonymous correspondence which contained advice that it had also been forwarded to her. It was not hard to work out that I would probably be asked a question about that correspondence today. I have some concerns about the ability of any Minister to respond to anonymous correspondence. The correspondence I received, regardless of the motives or standing of the author, contains material which is sexist, defamatory, subjective, obviously inaccurate and couched in a rather disgruntled tone.

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The Hon. Patricia Forsythe: That is not an explanation. You are referring to the second letter.

The Hon. CARMEL TEBBUTT: In response to the interjection by the Hon. Patricia Forsythe I agree that I have received two pieces of correspondence and my comments are appropriate to both. All members of this House would realise that significant changes have occurred in the department since the tabling of the report of the Ombudsman’s 1996 inquiry into detention centres. The Department of Juvenile Justice clearly outlined its policies and procedures in its internal reporting policy document.

This process allows staff to report corrupt or incompetent conduct and allows allegations to be properly investigated. There are procedures within the department which allow staff to report allegations of either corruption or misconduct. I advise that the correspondence referred to by the Hon. Patricia Forsythe will be forwarded to the Ombudsman, if that has not already been done. The Ombudsman is the appropriate person to deal with that correspondence.