Class action may reform laws for the 'forgotten children'
There are 18 adult prisons throughout Western Australia - the carceral estate is extensive and expanding - but, in fact, there is only one juvenile detention facility for the whole of Western Australia in Perth. Western Australia's most vulnerable children from remote communities are flown to Perth, gaoled at Banksia Hill and disconnected from all familial or other kin supports.
Uprooted children may spend months or years- thousands of kilometres from home, at Banksia. Most are on remand, unsentenced, before being returned home. More than 100 children each year are flown to Perth. In some years, up to 400 children.
Western Australia needs to urgently reform child bail laws and present more options for wayward children to remain with family members where possible and to be supported by State agencies or NGOs within their communities. Children need to be nurtured, not negated or crushed.
Social justice warrior lawyer, Stewart Levitt from Levitt Robinson Solicitors is leading a class action seeking compensation for for the forgotten children. A win in the Courts should compel government to pursue humane alternatives.
Stewart and his daughter, fellow lawyer, Dana Levitt, are strategising the class action. Senior Counsel from three states will lead the class action. Law graduate, Megan Krakouer, and Connie Georgatos, a law student, are working with social activist, Gerry Georgatos, to collect testimonies from former detainees of Banksia Hill, established in 1997. More than 10,000 children have gone through Banksia. The claimants are mostly impoverished and voiceless.
However, the heart and soul of the class action is Levitt Robinson Lawyers.
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