3 May 2023
In reply to the The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (3 May 2023).
1. How many children between the ages of 10-14 have been detained in the justice system in the last 12 months?
2. Of those children, how many are between the ages of 10-12?
3. What is the government doing to progress the Optional Protocol to the (United Nations) Convention Against Torture (OPCAT) which prevents the torture, illegal treatment, and deprivation of human rights for detained people?
4. How much funding is being provided by the South Australian government to implement OPCAT?
5. Is the government providing extra financial and human resources to the Office of the Guardian for Children and Young People to provide oversight for children and young people to the international standard required by OPCAT?
The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector):
I have been advised:
1. Between 10 May 2022 and 9 May 2023, a total of 41 children aged from 10 years to 13 years and 11 months were admitted to Kurlana Tapa Youth Justice Centre.
Cumulatively, these children spent a total of 275 nights in custody along with two children who were admitted to Kurlana Tapa but did not remain overnight.
2. Between 10 May 2022 and 9 May 2023, eight children aged from 10 years to 11 years and 11 months were admitted to Kurlana Tapa Youth Justice Centre. These children spent a cumulative 13 nights in custody over the past year.
Table 1—Admission of children aged 10 to 13 years to Kurlana Tapa Youth Justice Centre between 10 May 2022 and 9 May 2023
|Child age on admission||Number of children||Custody nights||Number of admissions|
Please note the sum of the 'number of children' column is 45 but the total number of individual children comes to 41. This is because four children had subsequent admissions after their birthdays.
3. As I have indicated previously in this place, South Australia, like other jurisdictions, stands prepared to implement OPCAT when the commonwealth government provides proper and ongoing funding to do so. The South Australian government continues to work closely with the commonwealth government to progress the implementation of OPCAT and issues concerning funding. OPCAT remains a priority item on the Standing Council of Attorneys-General (SCAG) meeting agenda for 2023. At the 28 April 2023 SCAG meeting, all participants affirmed their commitment to continue to work together towards full implementation of OPCAT obligations. I welcome this commitment from the commonwealth government and look forward to continuing to progress efforts to support the full implementation of OPCAT.
4. The South Australian government's position is that funding to implement OPCAT is a matter for the commonwealth government. The South Australian government continues to work closely with the commonwealth government to resolve issues relating to funding for the National Preventive Mechanisms (NPMs) to ensure that they are able to effectively carry out their functions and powers under OPCAT.
5. The Training Centre Visitor (currently Ms Shona Reid who also holds the office of Guardian for Children and Young People) was nominated in January 2022 by the former government to be the NPM for training centres when OPCAT is implemented. The implementation of OPCAT, including the passage of legislation needed to confer NPM functions on the Training Centre Visitor, remains subject to resolution of issues related to federal funding.