We welcome the report by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse into Case Study 30 – Victorian State Run Youth Training and Reception Centres.
We were all saddened by the distressing accounts of historical abuse between the 1960s and early 1990s and we must acknowledge the bravery of survivors of abuse in coming forward to tell their stories.
These experiences were abhorrent. They never should have occurred.
The department could and should have done more to protect children and young people who were residing in government-run institutions from harm.
We are working hard to learn from past mistakes and these hearings and the findings from the Royal Commission are an important part of this process.
The current Victorian youth justice service has been significantly reformed since the era of youth training and reception centres. The system now has robust safeguards in place to protect children and young people from abuse and ensure allegations are immediately reported and acted on.
The Andrews Labor Government has made significant changes to the policies and process around how today’s centres are run, and how staff are recruited.
Following public hearings at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, all youth justice clients are now asked about events prior to being admitted to custody.
This has resulted in an increase in the number of incidents reported alleged to have occurred prior to clients entering the custodial setting.
This year we legislated to strengthen the oversight role of the Commission for Children and Young People. The Commission now receives all category one incident reports from Youth Justice.
We also continue to work towards a redress scheme for survivors of abuse following recommendations from the Betrayal of Trust report and the Royal Commission, and are developing options to implement a scheme.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children, Youth Affairs Jenny Mikakos
“The distressing accounts have saddened us all, but the bravery of survivors of abuse in coming forward to tell their stories cannot be overstated.”
“We are working to make sure the mistakes of the past are not repeated, and as a Government, we haven’t wasted one minute in doing all we can to keep kids safe.”
“Keeping kids safe is everyone’s responsibility, and the hearings and the findings from the Royal Commission are an important part of this process.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020