STORIES of employees being spat on, hit with iron bars and fluorescent light tubes and sprayed with fire extinguishes have highlighted the need for a specialist high risk juvenile unit to be opened in the Orana region.
A stop work meeting was held at the Dubbo Juvenile Justice Centre on Wednesday with staff protesting against their unsafe working conditions, with Juvenile Justice saying they had been in ongoing consultation regarding staff concerns.
Public Service Association president Kylie McKelvie said members had passed a motion during the meeting to call on the NSW Government and the Department of Justice to establish specialist high risk units in the state’s six centres, including one in Dubbo.
“There is a keen need to have a high risk unit established in the Orana region, and the government already has the capabilities to do this here.
“They have three units and only one of them is being used, so they could outfit the other to make it a secure area. Orana is very open to having this unit,” Ms McKelvie said.
Ms McKelvie said employees across the state were fed up with not being taken seriously by the department, and the lack of stand alone units to deal with violent offenders.
“We need to offer proper services to rehabilitate young detainees and help them minimise the risk of violent behavior.
“These juveniles are removed from the system, they are good for a period of time, and then they re-offend. We aren’t breaking the cycle.
“A stand alone unit would offer counselling and education and identify their triggers that can then lead to us helping minimalise their chance of re-offending,” Ms McKelvie said.
Juvenile Justice said they had been speaking with the Public Service Association regarding staff safety concerns.
“The PSA have sought meetings today to discuss this long standing issue. As an act of good faith, Juvenile Justice has authorised these meetings to take place,” a spokesperson for Juvenile Justice said.
“Juvenile Justice has taken measures to ensure that these meetings do not significantly impact on the operation of its centers.
“The NSW Government has invested $1 million in additional training for Youth Officers, introduced a National Security Interest designation for detainees who pose a risk to national security and is upgrading CCTV inside all six Juvenile Justice Centers,” the spokesperson said.
Following consultation Juvenile Justice issued a report in November presenting three options for a new model, however the PSA said they were not addressing the problem.
Would you like more Dubbo news?
You can now receive updates straight to your inbox from the Daily Liberal. To make sure you're up to date with all the news, sign up to our free or subscriber only newsletters below: