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CYF must act after second serious assault

Child, Youth and Family must act after second serious assault

The Public Service Association (PSA) is demanding Child, Youth and Family put immediate steps in place to protect staff at youth justice centres following the second violent attack this year.

A PSA member working at the Palmerston North Lower North Youth Justice Centre was hospitalised after being violently assaulted on Sunday evening. This latest attack comes seven months after a riot at the Lower North Youth Justice Centre. A report on that incident, is still to be released.

PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff says it has taken too long to investigate the April riot and now must move immediately to protect staff working at its youth justice centres.

“It is totally unacceptable for staff to face both the threat and reality of serious violent assault at work.

“This latest assault on a staff member at the Lower North Centre highlights the particular dangers at that residence, but we are equally concerned for the welfare of our members working at Child, Youth and Family’s three other youth justice centres.

“Staff at the Lower North Centre were injured during a riot by residents in April. At the time the Department said it was commissioning an independent review and expected it would be released in June.

“It is now seven months since the riot, and five months since the report was expected. While we have no way of knowing for sure whether this report would have led to safety improvements and prevented the assault that occurred over the weekend, it is of grave concern to us that it has taken so long to investigate the earlier incident which left staff injured and traumatised.

“This latest attack on a staff member was extremely dangerous. Adequate measures to protect staff must be instituted immediately,” Richard Wagstaff said.

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