Four Corners: Nov 14

ABC looks at Australia’s failure to protect children in detention by WA and NT police.

“Locking Up Kids”, reported by Grace Tobin goes to air on Four Corners next Monday, a restraint used by Western Australian officers on children, and practices in the Northern Territory.

This is the final episode for the year.

Fourteen-year-old ‘Steve’ was in solitary confinement inside Perth’s Banksia Hill Detention Centre when he was subjected to a commonly used restraint known as ‘folding up’. An officer twisted his legs into a figure four before sitting on top of him. The practice is banned in other youth detention centres because of the risk of suffocation and death.

“It is excruciating. It is painful. And the children cry out for help, ‘Stop, stop, stop’. . . . And it continues.” Mental health worker

On Monday Four Corners will show for the first time the dangerous restraining practice used by Western Australian officers on children. Reporter Grace Tobin has obtained exclusive footage from inside Banksia Hill.

“He’s screaming out, he’s telling them he can’t breathe. I’ve never heard my son scream like that before.” Mother of 14-year-old

Ten youth detention officers are currently under investigation over allegations of excessive force. The families of detained children have told Four Corners mistreatment inside the youth detention centre is widespread.

“I want people to see it to understand that these young boys are in pain, they’re hurting, and they need to be believed that these things are happening to them,” Grandmother of detainee.

Four Corners will also reveal the ongoing mistreatment of children inside the notorious Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in the Northern Territory. It comes 6 years since the program first exposed the abuses of children inside the facility which resulted in a royal commission calling for its closure.

“I’ve seen incidences which have quite frankly shocked me.” Children’s commissioner

Australia is one of the only countries in the developed world to still lock up children as young as 10, a position condemned by human rights advocates.

“In 100 years’ time, people are going to look at us and say, “They’d lock kids up who were 10 and 11 and 12? What were they thinking to do with this?” We’ll be considered barbarians by future generations because we lock 10-year-olds up.” Former Royal Commissioner.

Monday 14th November at 8.30pm on ABC.

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