State Government-run Institutions 

The Victorian Government established reformatory schools and detention centres to provide institutional care and confinement for young people deemed to be in the need of ‘correction’. The Department of Child Safety are responsible for the management of these government-run institutions.  

Baltara Reception Centre, VIC

In 1968, the Victorian Government established and opened Baltara Reception Centre, situated in Park Street, Parkville VIC. Baltara Reception Centre was situated on the same campus as Turana Youth Training Centre, however, the two Centres were run separately.  

Baltara Reception Centre (also known as Baltara Youth Training Centre) operated as a specialised reception centre for male children between the ages of 10 and 15 who were either awaiting a court appearance or were wards of the State of Victoria awaiting adoption or placement in foster care, family group homes, children’s homes or mental health facilities. Baltara Reception Centre also ran as a remand centre for boys in the same age group.  

Baltara Reception Centre was managed by the Superintendent of the Turana Youth Training Centre who supervised and reported to the Victorian government (through its agencies).   

Baltara Reception Centre closed in 1992 following the passage of the Children and Young Persons Act 1989 which provided for the need to separate children and young people on protective orders from youth offenders in custody.  

History of Abuse at Baltara Reception Centre, VIC

A survivor reports that during his time at Baltara Reception Centre in around 1986 when he was 10 years old, he was trying to sleep when a group of eight to ten boys surrounded his bed holding their own penis’. These boys each then approached the survivors bed and forced him to perform oral sex on them. The survivor also reported further sexual and physical abuse during his time as a resident at Baltara Reception Centre, including on one occasions when two boys jumped into his bed and masturbated him and forced him to masturbate them.  

Another survivor reports being sexually abused at Baltara Reception Centre by an officer in the toilets and shower block. The officer forced the survivor masturbate him in private and in front of the other boys.  

In 2015, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard from Mr Grant Holland, a former Youth and Child Care Officer at Baltara Reception Centre, who gave evidence that it was common for Baltara Reception Centre to have issues with overcrowding. Grant Holland also stated that solitary confinement was used as punishment at Baltara Reception Centre. In 2016, the Royal Commission accepted that overcrowding was a serious problem at Baltara Reception Centre and that this hindered the provision of adequate supervision, putting its child residents at risk of abuse.  

In August 2015, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard evidence from former residents and former staff members regarding sexual and physical abuse at Baltara Reception Centre. One former staff member provided that Baltara was an old-school system of brutal care. 

We are specialist abuse lawyers and can help you receive acknowledgement, meaningful apology and financial resolution from those institutions and systems of power that failed to protect you from harm. If you would like advice in relation to a childhood or adult sexual, physical and/or psychological/emotional abuse claim in any jurisdiction in Australia, please reach out to the author, Emily Wright, at Littles Lawyers today. 

Further Abuse Law information written by our Emily Wright can be found on our website.  

Like? Share it with your friends.