Former juvenile detainees are seeking compensation after suffering physical and psychological abuse in Darwin youth detention centres. Lawyers have filed a class action against the Northern Territory government, meaning that hundreds of former detainees could receive compensation.
ABC's Four Corners program exposed horrors in the detention centres last year, such as the fact that children were being gassed, beaten and tortured.
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ABC News reports that the class action detailed allegations against former detainees Dylan Jenkings and Aaron Hyde, including false imprisonment, assault and battery. If the class action is successful, it would set a precedent for others who have suffered similar abuse to receive compensation.
"Our clients are concerned not only of their own treatment, but the treatment of other young people in youth detention centres," lawyer Ben Slade said.
"These young people are entitled to be compensated for the wrong that was done to them.
"Things have to change."
The class action details allegations of abuse, including that staff hit 15-year-old Aaron Hyde in the ribs while he was handcuffed in 2012, and on a separate occasion, slammed his head into a door frame.
There are also allegations that Hyde was stripped naked and put in an isolation cell with no bedding or tap water for three weeks.
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Hyde's mother Tracey was horrified by the documents and allegations of abuse, and told ABC that she found the document 'confronting'.
"He was stripped naked and he'd been asking for a blanket and a guard told him to masturbate to keep himself warm," she said.
"That should happen to nobody. Yes, there are kids that are in there for a reason, but that doesn't mean you can treat them like animals."
Lawyers guess that the initial proceedings of the class action will take about two years, so it will be a while before the victims see compensation. Hyde and Jenkings are currently serving at an adult correctional facility in the Northern Territory.
A Royal Commission into youth detention commenced last year in September, and is expected to release its final report on March 31 this year.