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RANZCP response to the NT Royal Commission into the protection and detention of children

24 November 2017

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) welcomes the publication of the final report of the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory.

‘It is vital that attitudes and practices within the youth detention and child protection systems are guided by compassion, and founded on a commitment to ensure that supportive, caring and non-traumatising early experiences are provided for all children and young people,’ RANZCP President Dr Kym Jenkins said. 

 ‘We know that there is a significant link between childhood trauma and future psychiatric and social problems so it is crucial that developmentally appropriate mental health care is provided for children and young people in youth detention.

‘The RANZCP would welcome the opportunity to assist the Federal and Northern Territory governments in implementing these recommendations,’ she said.

The RANZCP is pleased to see that the Royal Commission included recommendations that reflect our submission to the enquiry including the need for:

  • mental health screening of children and young people on admission to a facility and, where mental health issues are identified, the development of a mental health plan
  • case management to ensure the behaviour of detainees is managed in a therapeutic trauma-informed and culturally competent way
  • mechanisms to ensure restraint and isolation are used for appropriate purposes
  • in-house drug and alcohol programs
  • regular medical checks
  • mechanisms to ensure cultural competency among health and other staff
  • induction training for detention center staff including responding to suicide and self-harm, cultural awareness, trauma-informed practice, and other mental health issues
  • improved access for young people in out-of-home-care to rehabilitation and counselling services
  • training for foster and kinship carers targeting specific populations in out-of-home care

For more see the RANZCP’s 2016 submission to the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory.

ENQUIRIES: or +61 437 315 911

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists is a membership organisation that prepares medical specialists in the field of psychiatry, supports and enhances clinical practice, advocates for people affected by mental illness and advises governments on mental health care. For information about our work, our members or our history, visit