MALMSBURY, Australia: Youth justice workers in central Victoria have stopped work after a series of attacks over months leaving one worker with severe head injuries in the most recent attack on Thursday.
Victoria Police said two staff members at the Malmsbury Youth Justice Centre were assaulted at around 7:30pm on October 3 night.
Community and Public Sector Union spokesman Julian Kennelly said one of the staff members is in the hospital with severe head injuries.
“The union is concerned about staff-to-inmate ratios after an increase in violent assaults on workers across Victoria’s youth justice facilities, including 300 in just four months earlier this year,” he said.
“We have pool cues, pool balls, we had a guitar bashed over the back of an officers head last year at Malmsbury, [which] almost scalped her. All the equipment that’s provided to try and facilitate rehabilitation just gets used as weapons,” he complained.
He said WorkSafe was organizing an inspector to visit the centre to determine if there was enough staff.
The centre staff has stopped work and is in meeting with the management as part of an “occupational health and safety cease work”.
Inmates have been locked in their bedrooms in the wake of these assaults.
Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien called Malmsbury “a disaster area” and said Premier Daniel Andrews had “lost control of the youth justice system”.
“The government needs to urgently step in, make sure the staff are safe, make sure these young offenders are not allowed to continue with this sort of behaviour,” he stressed.
Two 18-year-old men and a 19-year-old man have been charged with intentionally and recklessly causing injury, assaulting an emergency worker.
The men are due to appear in court on Friday for allegedly attacking two staff members in Malmsbury.