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Under our legislation, we don’t investigate individual children’s and families’ circumstances. If you suspect a child in Queensland is experiencing harm or neglect, please contact the Department of Child Safety, Seniors and Disability Services.

Young people in Queensland watch houses

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Young people in Queensland watch houses

Queensland detains children at a higher rate than any other Australian jurisdiction, which has challenged capacity of the state’s detention centres and caused an over-reliance on watch houses.

We have completed a review of Queensland’s use of watch houses to understand why children are increasingly being held in watch houses for extended periods and to identify who is responsible for monitoring and reducing the trend.

The review looked at information on a sample of 30 children identified by the Office of the Public Guardian as having spent extended time in a watch house in 2022 and 2023, compared legislative and practice differences between Queensland and other Australian jurisdictions, and developed a statistical profile of the system to understand the drivers of the increasing use of watch houses.

The review makes five recommendations for immediate implementation to reduce the time children are detained in watch houses, including improving cross-agency collaboration, transparency of record-keeping and public reporting, and reducing unsentenced detention.