thank you for Care not Custody report

Corporate Affairs, Victoria Legal Aid
 
Thank you for your report <http://www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/sites/www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/files/vla-care-not-custody-report.pdf> , Care not Custody which includes an interest in and advocacy for vulnerable autistic children. And congratulations on the recent publicity <http://a4.org.au/node/1390>  for the issue.
 
Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia has spoken to politicians and written in the media <http://a4.org.au/node/1071>  about the failure/refusal of governments in Australia to meet, or even recognise, the needs of autistic children with challenging behaviour to access clinical behaviour services and support. We are aware that other children with challenging behaviours have similar issues.
 
Australian governments and their agencies refuse to recognise that people with challenging behaviour need services and supports from behavioural specialists, that there are international standards for behavioural professionals and that Australia needs to train and employ behavioural professionals to help address challenging behaviour.
 
Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child <https://www.humanrights.gov.au/convention-rights-child>  describe children’s right to treatment and rehabilitation, yet few Australian children with problem or challenging behaviour can access essential behavioural services and supports.
 
Currently, no Australian University trains graduating behaviour specialists to a recognised standard.
 
Officials and politicians claim <http://sofasd.org.au/d7/node/159>  “Senior psychologists are highly experienced in behaviour management”. In our experience, this is untrue; there is no basis for such claims. They “fail” to answer when issues and concerns are raised.
 
Your report says “the continued practice in many residential facilities of relying on police to manage incidents of challenging behaviour”. Police are not trained appropriately for this role. The challenge is to find anyone with the knowledge and experience to train police in this aspect of their work.
 
On the ABC’s 7:30 Report <http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-25/four-corners-evidence-of-kids-tear-gas-in-don-dale-prison/7656128> , we saw the example of prison guards left to operate so-called Behaviour Management Units in the Northern Territory without a behaviour specialist in sight.
 
The ACT Government made no discernible progress in developing behavioural supports for students with challenging behaviour since its internationally renown boy-in-the-cage episode <http://sofasd.org.au/d7/node/167> .
 
Clearly, Governments in Australia reject notions of professional standards for behaviour services and supports. We cannot discern their intent for people with challenging behaviour.
 
Again, thank you for your efforts.

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Bob Buckley
Convenor, Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4)
website: http://a4.org.au/