Home / World News / ‘Worsening’ low staff at Tas youth centre

‘Worsening’ low staff at Tas youth centre

Tasmania’s government has been forced to look nationwide to ensure the state’s troubled Ashley Youth Detention Centre is safely staffed amid a “worsening” worker shortage.

A commission of inquiry into child sexual abuse earlier this month heard the centre has a culture of brutality, with former detainees saying they were raped, bashed and belittled by staff.

The government is standing by a plan announced last September to shut the centre by 2024, despite calls, including from the national and state children’s commissioner, for it to close immediately.

The inquiry was told lockdown practices were being utilised at the facility due to understaffing.

Assistant manager at Ashley, Fiona Atkins, indicated there were four youth workers to cater for 11 detainees, about a third of what was ideal.

“We need to ensure that we’ve got a staffing ratio that enables us to keep the operations at Ashley safe,” Children and Youth Minister Roger Jaensch told reporters on Wednesday.

“At the moment we’ve got some staff who are away from the workplace for a number of reasons.

“We are recruiting interstate for trained therapeutic youth justice professionals. We’re also reaching out to other parts of government where there are people who are familiar with the corrections environment.

“The people we’ve targeted have been people with great qualifications and skills … they need to be able to hit the ground running and work alongside our existing staff in Ashley to ensure young people get the full program of services that they are entitled to.”

State Commissioner for Children and Young People, Leanne McLean, on Sunday called for a rapid response team to be sent to the centre.

“Current chronic low staffing levels have worsened and I am extremely concerned at the current restrictive practices, including a return to rolling lockdowns,” she said.

“The current situation at Ashley has further deteriorated and is likely to remain that way for at least several weeks. This constitutes a gross failure to uphold the rights of children.”

The inquiry was told allegations of abuse at the facility, which has operated for more than 20 years, are as recent as the past few years.

Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff has defended the closure plan, saying if there were better available options than Ashley the government would use them.

About brandsauthority

Check Also

COVID in WA: Fears thousands of school leavers bringing disease to Perth after outbreak in party zone

There are fears thousands of school leavers have brought COVID-19 back to Perth after attending …

%d bloggers like this: