Spit hood use to be banned in Youth Justice system
The use of spit hoods in the Adelaide Youth Training Centre (AYTC) will be banned by June 2020.
Spit hoods – head coverings designed to prevent young people in residence from spitting on or biting others – have been used in the youth training system since 2014.
They have been used 57 times between October 2016 and June, this year.
Their use has reduced significantly to only 5 uses in 2018-19 and they have not been used at all since the end of March 2019.
The commitment to ban the use of spit hoods comes on the back of an Ombudsman report released today on their use at the AYTC in 2016 and 2017.
Spit hoods are a legacy policy that now has no place in a modern, therapeutic environment. Other more appropriate ways that balance the rights and welfare of young people with the safety of staff will be investigated.
A transition period to phase out the use of spit hoods, as supported by the Ombudsman, will allow time to identify, source and implement appropriate alternative options, including training staff in new techniques to ensure a safe transition for both staff and young people.
The Ombudsman made a fourth recommendation regarding the use of force in the AYTC and the Department has committed to a review on the use of force and restraint in the system to ensure force is only ever used as a last resort.
Young people at the Adelaide Youth Training Centre can present with very difficult and challenging behaviour, many with significant histories of trauma and violence, who have been found guilty of serious crimes.
Given this, management can often be challenging and even with the best strategies, incidents can occur.
Staff are trained in specialised behaviour support techniques to de-escalate behaviour aimed at reducing incidents.