Australian College of Nursing condemns mistreatment of youth detainees in the Northern Territory
The Australian College of Nursing (ACN) is appalled by Monday night’s Four Corners exposé of the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in Darwin which showed the shocking mistreatment of children in juvenile detention. The use of tear gas, physical violence and solitary confinement are sickening occurrences that should never happen in Australia.

ACN is pleased to hear of the establishment of a Royal Commission. ACN hopes to see answers and solutions in a timely fashion in response to this deplorable treatment. Children incarcerated in Australia remain at risk and deserve immediate access to care.

As a member of the International Council of Nurses, ACN endorses the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948, the Geneva Convention of 1949 and the United Nations Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners.

ACN’s CEO, Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN said, “Nurses must advocate for the safe and humane care of detainees, including those in youth juvenile detention centres. The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia’s Code of Ethics for Nurses explicitly respects the human rights for all people. Nurses who are aware of mistreatment are obligated to take the necessary safeguards to ensure the protection of detainees.”

“ACN also has grave concerns regarding the moral and ethical rights and reporting obligations of health care professionals providing care in the detention setting,” she said.

The Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT), already available to the government, is able to monitor all places of detention in Australia, including youth detention facilities. ACN believes this is a necessary initiative which the Australian Government should adopt.

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