The Northern Territory Government has denied claims that young girls are under surveillance while showering and using the bathroom in ‘B Block’ of Don Dale Youth Detention Centre.
During Question Time in the Territory parliament on Thursday, Member for Daly Gary Higgins questioned the government on whether or not they were aware of girls ‘showering and using the toilet under the watchful eye of security cameras which are recording and monitoring on‑site’.
Both the Minister for Territory Families Dale Wakefield, and Chief Minister Michael Gunner appeared unable to answer the question.
Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Lia Finocchiaro, told NITV News that the party first heard about the allegations when approached by a concerned member of the community.
“It’s beyond comprehension that the minister could not confirm or deny that underage female detainees at Don Dale are using shower and toilet facilities monitored by security cameras,” Ms Finocchiaro said.
“It was a simple question and the minister should be ashamed that she couldn’t, or wouldn’t answer.”
The Office of the Northern Territory Children’s Commissioner said they had sent two staff out to Don Dale to investigate the allegations.
“We have received briefings from Territory Families on this matter which we have been satisfied with. The information indicates that the allegations are not true,” a spokesperson wrote.
“However in order to be completely informed there are two Office of the Children’s Commissioner’s staff on site at Don Dale Youth Detention Centre as we speak to inspect the nature of the cameras in that area.
“We can only provide comment once we have received a full briefing from those staff members.”
Not confirmed or denied
In a phone call a representative of Territory Families told NITV News that the allegations were untrue, however a statement received following the call did not confirm nor deny the allegations.
Territory Families said there are a number of cameras in the detention centre to monitor the safety and wellbeing of young people.
"In the current area for female accommodation, there are cameras in the courtyard which capture the exercise space as well as in the rooms," the statement read.
"In the rooms of young females, who are not at risk of harm, a physical barrier is placed over the camera in the room so that they are not being captured on camera.
"Young females who are at risk are under observation through cameras in their rooms so that their health and wellbeing can be monitored to ensure their safety.
"The cameras in these rooms have been configured so that young people have privacy."