Dylan Voller testified in December 2016 before the Northern Territory royal commission concerning the abuse he allegedly suffered while at the Don Dale detention center. I previously wrote about Voller’s situation, which came to light during the summer. Several videos taken from security cameras showed some of the abuse Voller experienced. However, it was footage showing Voller strapped to a restraint chair that broke the story.
The Australian government did its best to respond to the coverage, primarily by trying to minimize what was seen in the videos. As previously mentioned in those posts, there were prior reports of abuse at the Don Dale center and other juvenile facilities. The Northern Territory appears to have a higher rate of this abuse, particularly against Aboriginal youths.
The royal commission was held in an attempt to get a better insight into what the victims claim happened. Voller offered the following testimony:
Voller alleged guards charged detainees “rent” for staying at Don Dale, taking $1.5o a day from money the detainees had earned through good behaviour.
He also said he was forced to defecate into a pillowcase after guards at the Alice Springs juvenile facility refused to let him out of his cell to go to the toilet during the night. He said detainees would repeatedly be forced to urinate through the cell bars.
He was first strip-searched at about the age of 11 or 12, he said, and it would occur every time he was moved between facilities or in and out of isolation cells, or when he coming back from the bathroom because he had been throwing toilet paper at cameras to cover the screen.
Voller also alleged officers repeatedly stripped him of clothes and bedding for hours as a form of punishment, and denied him food and water.
One youth justice officer at Alice Springs noticed he was hungry in the middle of one night and threw muesli bars and fruit through to his cell, Voller said.
It did not stop there. Continue reading →