People With Disability Australia has spoken out regarding news an intellectually disabled Indigenous Australian boy was left “completely naked” in a Brisbane watch house for 3 days.
According to ABC, who obtained documents under Right To Information, “three to four watch house officers pinned the boy down to undress him so that they could place him in a “suicide smock” — a garment difficult to tear.”
However the boy resisted, so was stripped naked and put in the Brisbane adult maximum-security police watch house cell.
The Brisbane watch house is for adults, including inmates accused of murder, rape and paedophilia. On Four Corners last month, reports of children being held in the maximum security watch houses sparked nation-wide concern, after it was revealed one child was held for 23 days, while another girl was accidentally placed in a holding cell with two alleged male sex offenders.
Documents by the Office of the Public Guardian revealed that the boy had both a neuro-developmental disability and foetal alcohol spectrum disorder, and had told his child safety officer he was feeling mentally unwell. His resistance to the “suicide smock” was “due to feelings of shame”
Both People With Disability Australia and the Queensland Department of Child Safety (QDCS) have expressed concerns regarding the boy’s welfare and treatment. An officer from QDCS said they had “high concerns” and asked for help to get the police to provide the boy with clothes.
People With Disability Australia spokesperson Frances Quan Farrant told ABC that the treatment was “abhorrent”.
“We’re absolutely outraged that a child with a disability, a child with suicidal ideation, has been left naked in a cell for three days. This is abhorrent, and it’s a gross violation of this child.”
Queensland Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington also made a statement regarding the situation.
“I actually just cannot believe it, that a child has been stripped naked and left naked for four days. I really don’t care what this kid has done, but he should not be treated like that.”
According to ABC, the youth detention centre at the time of the boy’s watch house placement was down at least 20 beds due to refurbishment. Child Safety Minister Di Farmer told the outlet that the boy “threatened self -harm and was given a smock to wear for his own safety”.
“He was later assessed and found to be able to wear ordinary clothing.”
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Image: Four Corners