State Government-run Institutions

The New South Wales 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 Child Welfare Department were responsible for the management of these government-run institutions.

Kariong Juvenile Justice Centre

In 1991, the New South Wales Government established and opened Kariong Juvenile Justice Centre, situated on Mt Penang, Kariong, near Gosford NSW.

Kariong Juvenile Justice Centre (previously known as Kariong Detention Centre and Kariong Juvenile Detention Centre) operated as a detention centre, and it for was the first purpose-built secure unit for young people who were deemed difficult to manage in other centres and those with a history of escape. It was also used for assessment purposes for young people charged with very serious offences. The children were typically confined by a court order at Kariong Juvenile Justice Centre.

Kariong Juvenile Justice Centre was managed by a Superintendent (or alike) who supervised and reported to the New South Wales government (through its agencies).

Kariong Juvenile Justice Centre closed in 2015 and the detainees were transferred to Cobham Juvenile Justice Centre, NSW. At the time of its closure, Kariong Juvenile Justice Centre housed detainees who had been charged with serious offences or had a high security classification.

History of Abuse and Concerns at Kariong Juvenile Justice Centre

Survivors of abuse at Kariong Juvenile Justice Centre have reported that their experiences at the centre have left them traumatised. Survivors have reported significant sexual, physical and emotional abuse perpetrated upon them by officers, guards, and other staff personnel whilst detained at Kariong Juvenile Justice Centre. Survivors have further reported that the sexual abuse frequently occurred under the guise of strip searches at Kariong Juvenile Justice Centre, and that these strip searches for alleged possession of banned items became avenues for repeated incidents of sexual abuse they suffered. Survivors report that they were not comfortable raising or reporting their experiences of sexual abuse to staff at Kariong Juvenile Justice Centre either due to their honest belief that they would not be heard or believed, or because their safety had been threatened by the perpetrators of the abuse.

In 2011, the NSW Ombudsman provided the following summary of their findings in relation to Kariong Juvenile Justice Centre:

Kariong Juvenile Correctional Centre houses some of the most challenging and troubled adolescent boys and young men in the NSW criminal justice system … Since 2004 it has been managed and operated as part of the adult correctional system by Corrective Services NSW …This report concerns day to day life at the centre for the 16 to 21 year olds who are in custody there … In response to this investigation Corrective Services NSW … has agreed to make widespread changes to how Kariong operates.

An ABC News article dated 22 July 2019 provides that Kariong Juvenile Justice Centre inmates “…targeted sex offenders with ‘makeshift weapons’. The article provides that police stormed Kariong Juvenile Justice Centre, bringing all offenders off the rooftop to end a riot that lasted for almost 24 hours. The riot began after dozens of inmates began attacking known sex offenders with makeshift weapons.

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.