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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2012 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 10 May 2012) . . Page.. 2337 ..

Implementation Taskforce have been working to implement these recommendations, and we will continue to do so.

The government is committed to ensuring the ACT has a high-performing and effective youth justice system, the Bimberi Youth Justice Centre. It is our aim to have a system which will have a strong focus on early intervention, prevention, therapeutic programming and diversion. Importantly, the youth justice system and places of detention must comply with human rights standards and practices.

Following the Human Rights Commission review, the government announced a blueprint for youth justice in the ACT. The blueprint will provide strategic direction for the development of the youth justice system. It is my intention to present the blueprint to the Assembly later this year.

The government recognises that an important part of maintaining a high-performing and effective youth justice system is ensuring that the legislative framework promotes the best interests and the rights of children and young people. This includes making sure that the powers of administrative agencies, such as Bimberi, are appropriate and based on the human rights framework encompassed in the ACT Human Rights Act.

This is why the government agreed with the Human Rights Commission recommendation to consider legislative change, and the two recommendations addressed in this bill were identified as priority actions.

Firstly, the government bill addresses the Human Rights Commission’s recommendation regarding the use of force under section 223 of the Children and Young People Act. The commission recommended that the government amend the Children and Young People Act, policy and procedures to require a doctor or nurse to be notified as a matter of course every time force is used rather than providing the young person with the option to see a doctor or nurse after the event.

The government agreed with the intent of this recommendation while drawing a distinction between unplanned use of force, for example when used in response to an escalating or dangerous situation, and the planned use of force, such as during an escort to court or an appointment out of the detention place.

The proposed amendment will strengthen the statutory requirement to report the use of force to a doctor or nurse, except for the planned use of force for escort purposes when this is determined to be necessary, such as when the young person is a flight risk. While the amendment does not require notification as a matter of course for this type of use of force, the young person retains the option to see a doctor or nurse after the event. All other events that may require the use of force during an escort will continue to be reported. In addition, use of force within the Bimberi Youth Justice Centre would be reported.

The amendment maintains current requirements around the use of force, including that the circumstances are sufficiently serious to justify the use of force, ensuring that the kind of restraint is appropriate in the circumstance and the restraint is used appropriately in the circumstance.

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